United Airlines memo to pilots outlines safety concerns
[FILE] A United Airlines plane sits on an unidentified runway in this photo provided by the airline. By From United Airlines
(CNN) -- United Airlines sent a scathing memo to its pilots warning that alarming behavior of its flight teams must stop now.
The memo reveals some cockpits are dysfunctional, with pilots ignoring their copilots warnings about an "unsafe situation."
The memo, obtained by CNN, said the behavior was "unacceptable," and was just part of a stern warning to flight teams about conduct that was putting passengers and planes in potential danger.
Issued Jan. 9th, it says in the weeks prior the airline experienced what it categorized as "major safety events and near-misses."
In two cases, detailed in the memo, aircraft could have crashed into the ground, but in one of the incidents the pilot performed an emergency pull up maneuver to avoid danger. In a third incident a plane landed with less than the required amount of fuel onboard.
After reviewing records of safety incidents, airline management was also alarmed by the lack of checks and balance in the cockpit.
"Every pilot must be willing to speak up if safety is in question," the memo said.
"The language was strong, stronger than usual," said United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart. The tone of the memo was used to "get pilots' attention" Hobart added.
"The responsibility is in their hands. If there have been so many safety incidents it's an indication training needs to be improved," said a current United Airlines pilot who received the memo discussed it with CNN, but requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Another United pilot who also received the memo defended fellow pilots saying, "This is a dedication to safety and excellence message not a you guys messed up message."
The memo concedes it is a "brutally honest message."
It comes as the airline deals with a wave of retirements and new hires. United plans to hire 700 new pilots this year. In the memo, the airline acknowledged the shift in the workforce "introduces a significant risk to the operation."
United Airlines would not comment on what other actions it may take or whether pilots will have to undergo additional training.
The airline says it regularly reaches out to its pilots.
"This is what a safe airline does. Talk open and directly with its pilots" Hobart said.