The company has been heavily criticised over recent weeks / Getty

'The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority'

The passcodes securing cockpit doors on United Airlines aircraft may have been leaked to the public.

Over the weekend, United Airlines owner United Continental Holdings informed staff that passcodes and safety information had been posted online by a flight attendant.

According to the company, it was a mistake rather than the result of a cyber security breach.

Anybody with the correct codes would be able to access the cockpit, which is hugely concerning.

However, United Continental Holdings says it has launched a “corrective action plan”, and that “the risk of a breach of the flight deck door is strongly mitigated by carefully following the flight deck security procedures”.

Pilots have been asked to visually confirm the identity of anyone who enters the flight deck, even if they have the right codes.

According to CBS News, the airline will likely have to change the codes on all of its cockpit doors, a process that has to be carried out manually on a plane-by-plane basis.

“The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority and United utilizes a number of measures to keep our flight decks secure beyond door access information,” the company said in a statement. 

“In the interim this protocol ensures our cockpits remain secure. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

United Airlines recently issued a memo to employees instructing them to “always assume you are being recorded or photographed”.

The company's CEO has also admitted that the forcible removal of passenger David Dao from a United Airlines flight was a “mistake of epic proportions”.

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