The engine on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Honolulu (flight 328) caught fire shortly after takeoff, scattering debris over residential areas and public parks below – forcing the plane to make an emergency landing for its 231 passengers and 10 crewmembers.
Following this, Boeing has urged airlines operating its 777-type aircraft with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines to ground these planes while full inspections are carried out.
“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the National Transportation Safety Board investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identifies the appropriate inspection protocol,” Boeing said in a statement on its media room.
It continued: “Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney.”
Planes grounded in the US, Japan and South Korea
United Airlines said it was temporarily grounding all its Boeing 777s in service (reports suggest that United is the only US airline flying the model); while Japan’s aviation regulator has directed all airlines operating these aircraft (Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways) to ground their planes. The remaining aircraft are located in South Korea, which is reportedly ‘monitoring the situation’.
The latest incident comes as a blow for Boeing, which had all its 737 Max planes grounded around the world in 2019 following tragic crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. In early January 2021, a Boeing 737-500 crashed in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all passengers and crew onboard.