Boeing has recommended grounding all of the 777-model aircraft which have the same type of engine that suffered failure and shed debris over Denver on Saturday.
United flight 328 – a Boeing 777 fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW4000-112 engines – had an incident shortly after takeoff from Denver on its way to Honolulu, Hawaii, where part of the engine fell to the ground.
“While [an] investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines,” the company said in a statement. It said 128 jets should be suspended until inspections are carried out.
United Airlines and Japan’s two main operators have already stopped using 56 planes with the same engine.
FAA administrator Steve Dickson called for “immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service”.
Meanwhile, Japan’s transport ministry ordered both Japan Airlines and ANA to ground 777s equipped with the same series of engines “while considering the necessity of countermeasures”.
ANA operates 19 of this specific plane-engine combination while JAL operates 13. On 4 December last year, JAL flight 904 from Naha to Tokyo was forced to return to the airport due to a malfunction in the engine on the left side. Inspection after arrival revealed damage to the engine.
Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines have also grounded 777s with these engines.
This afternoon, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that all 777s will be temporarily banned from UK airspace pending the results of the investigation into the causes of the engine failure over Denver.