The board of directors of United Airlines is backing chief executive Oscar Munoz following the uproar after a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight earlier this week.
"We are supporting Oscar and his team as they work to assure that something like this does not happen again," says Robert Milton, chairman of the board at United, in a letter to employees today. "That means, as you have heard, changes to our policies of when we will ask law enforcement officers to come onto our planes and our procedures when there is an oversold situation."
The board support follows some calls for Munoz to resign after a slow response to a video of the forced removal of David Dao from United flight 3411 operated by Republic Airlines at Chicago O'Hare International airport on 9 April.
United's chief told ABC News on 12 April, his first public appearance after the incident, that he does not plan to resign.
Munoz is relatively new to the role, having taken over from ousted United chief Jeff Smisek in September 2015.
Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost two front teeth when Chicago Aviation Department security personnel removed him from the aircraft, his lawyer Thomas Demetrio said on 13 April.
Milton apologises on behalf of the board to Dao and all the passengers on flight 3411 in his letter.
United will use the incident as a turning point to "craft friendly policies and redouble efforts to win back the trust of everyone", says Milton.
He adds that the board supports Munoz and the leadership team's efforts to make the airline "truly customer-focused".
United has accepted responsibility for the incident, including refunding the fares of all passengers on the flight and changing its policies regarding removing passengers from aircraft.
"United must be measured by more than this one incident on a single United Express flight," says the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) United master executive council in a statement on 13 April. "The United Airlines MEC is confident that the steps we are taking as a company will ensure this type of inexcusable event never happens again."
Dao was among four passengers involuntarily bumped from flight 3411 to accommodate four must-ride employees on the full flight after they had boarded the Embraer 170 at Chicago O'Hare.
Source: Cirium Dashboard