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United Airlines chief steps down amid corruption investigation

United Airlines announced Tuesday that chairman and chief executive Jeff Smisek and two other executives have resigned amid a federal investigation.

The resignations of Smisek; Mark R. Anderson, senior vice president for corporate and government affairs; and Nene Foxhall, executive vice president for communications and government affairs, are connected to an investigation into whether United set up a direct flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Columbia, South Carolina, to benefit the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports in New York and New Jersey.

David Samson owned a vacation home near Columbia, and the route, which lost money for United, was canceled just days after Samson resigned from his post in 2014, The Washington Post reports. When the direct flight was launched, United was looking into making big improvements at Newark Liberty International Airport. The airline announced earlier this year that the executives had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, and said on Tuesday it was still cooperating and conducting its own internal investigation.