United takes 24 Boeing 777s out of service as the FAA orders inspections following engine failure


Residents take pictures of debris fallen from a United Airlines airplane’s engine on the neighborhood of Broomfield, outside Denver, Colorado, on Feb. 20, 2021. A United Airlines flight suffered a fiery engine failure Feb. 20, shortly after taking off from Denver on its way to Hawaii, dropping massive debris on a residential area before a safe emergency landing, officials said.

Chet Strange | AFP | Getty Images

United Airlines said Sunday that it will temporarily remove 24 of its Boeing 777s from service after one of the planes suffered an engine failure over the weekend, which prompted an emergency landing.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday that the agency will order the inspection of some Boeing 777 jetliners powered by the same Pratt and Whitney engine, the PW4000.

Japan’s aviation regulator has ordered airlines to suspend flights of aircraft with this type of engine until further notice, the FAA said. United is the only U.S. airline with this type of engine in its fleet, added the agency.

United Flight 328 made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport shortly after takeoff on Saturday afternoon after its right engine failed. No one was injured on board but debris, including what appeared to be the large engine covering, fell nearby.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the incident.

“We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident. Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

United has another 28 of these aircraft in its fleet that are currently in storage. Airlines have parked or retired dozens of planes after demand fell because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engine maker Pratt and Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies unit, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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