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United Airlines CEO Says No One Will Be Fired Over Passenger Assault

19/04/2017 7:46 PM AEST | Updated 19/04/2017 7:46 PM AEST

No one will lose their job over an incident which saw a United Airlines passenger violently dragged from a plane, the carrier’s CEO has announced.

United boss Oscar Munoz faced calls to quit after a video emerged of David Dao being wrenched from his seat to make room for crew members on the flight from Chicago on April 10.  

According to the Associated Press, he said on Tuesday: “I’m sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said no one would be fired over the incident

”It was a system failure across various areas, there was never a consideration for firing an employee.”

Three staff members had been suspended over the incident.

Munoz added that he took full responsibility “for making this right,” and promised more details later this month after United finishes a review of its policies on overbooked flights.

He had initially said, in an internal email later leaked to journalists, that Dao had been “disruptive and belligerent” and staff were “left with no choice”.

Munoz was then forced to issue a proper apology, saying he “continues to be disturbed” by what happened and that the airline would “fix what’s broken so it never happens again”.

Dao’s lawyers have taken steps that foreshadow a lawsuit against the airline and the city of Chicago, which operates O’Hare Airport, where the incident took place. 

United announced two rule changes last week, including saying that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked planes. 

Footage of 69-year-old Dao being pulled screaming from his seat emerged earlier this month, plunging United Airlines into a PR storm and causing their share prices to plummet.

David Dao was violently dragged from a United Airlines flight

The doctor, from Kentucky, was seen being dragged unconscious down the plane aisle and later filmed running back onto the plane, disorientated and saying “just kill me”.

Dao lost two teeth and suffered a concussion and broken nose during the incident, his lawyer, Thomas Demetrio, said. 

Demetrio said his client needed reconstructive surgery after the incident.

At a later press conference in Chicago, Dao’s daughter Crystal Dao Pepper said: “What happened to my dad should’ve never happened to any human being.

“We were horrified and shocked and sickened to learn what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him. We hope that in the future nothing like this happens again.”

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