This time, it’s not a bridge. It’s a plane.
The New York Times reported Tuesday night that Jeff Smisek, chief executive officer of United Airlines, and two senior officials of the company have resigned amid a federal corruption investigation. Smisek has been replaced, and United told the Times in a statement that it “continues to cooperate with the government.”
The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey investigates whether the airliner traded perks for influence with senior officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority operates several airports, including Newark Liberty International, where United runs 70 percent of outbound flights.
The trouble began in earnest for United in February, when federal prosecutors were also investigating another New Jersey scandal: the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey and New York—or, as it’s more commonly known, Bridgegate. The feds issued subpoenas for the personal travel records of David Samson, a former chairman of the Port Authority who was appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2010. Investigators sought to determine whether United created flights in 2012 between Newark, New Jersey, and Columbia, South Carolina, to give Samson a direct route to his weekend home in South Carolina, which is 50 miles from the airport.