Boeing has recommended grounding all 128 of its 777-model aircraft which have the same type of engine that suffered failure and shed debris over Denver.
Airlines using planes with the same engine type should suspend operations until full inspections could be carried out.
“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,” Boeing said in a statement.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United is the only US airline flying this model of 777, with the others being in Japan and South Korea.
United Airlines said it was temporarily grounding all 24 of its Boeing 777s. Japan’s aviation regulator told Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), which between them operate 32 planes of the affected model, to ground their planes. South Korea, home to the remaining carriers, said it was monitoring the situation.
The engine on flight UA328 from Denver to Honolulu failed shortly after take off with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board. Pilots issued a mayday call and returned to Denver.
Debris from the aircraft was found scattered over a nearby residential area after it landed safely back at Denver airport.
The FAA has ordered extra inspections of Boeing 777 aircrafts fitted with the Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine following the incident.
“We reviewed all available safety data following [Saturday’s] incident,” said Steve Dickson, FAA administrator.
“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.”
The initial finding of the National Transportation Safety Board is that most of the damage occurred in the right engine, where two fan blades were fractured and other blades also impacted. The main body of the aeroplane suffered only minor damage.
The engine failure is the another blow for Boeing after its 737 Max aircraft was grounded for 18 months following two aviation accidents that left 346 people dead.
— Claire Armstrong (@BAREESTHETICSCO) February 20, 2021