United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek has stepped down in connection with a US federal investigation into the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Port Authority owns Newark Liberty airport, where United has a major hub.
Two United Airlines vice-presidents have also quit. United says the departures are effective immediately, and are as a result of an internal investigation related to the federal probe.
US news reports say that according to people familiar with the federal investigation, it includes looking into a United flight operating to Columbia in South Carolina where former Port Authority chairman David Samson had a holiday home, while United was in negotiations with the airport. The route was cancelled in 2014 after Samson resigned as Port Authority chairman.
United declined to comment further on the situation, but says in a statement that its internal investigation “and the related circumstances do not raise any accounting or financial reporting concerns.”
Oscar Munoz, previously president and COO of transportation company CRX, has been named as United’s new CEO and president.
Smisek spoke to BBT in July this year, discussing the Open Skies dispute with Middle Eastern carriers, as well as the airline’s developments at Newark Liberty airport.