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Boeing 777 Denver engine failure

128 Boeing 777s grounded after weekend engine failure

Image credit: reuters

Boeing has recommended that airline operators suspend the use of its 777 planes, which use the same engine that fell apart over Denver this weekend.

On Saturday, United Airlines Flight 328 had to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport when its right engine blew apart just after take-off. The plane, with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board, landed safely and nobody was reported to be hurt.

Boeing said that 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines should not be taken into the air until the US’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspects the planes to find out why the incident occurred. In a statement it said it supported the decision by the FAA, alongside the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, to suspend operations of the aircraft.

“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,” it added.

Prior to Boeing’s statement, United Airlines had already said it would voluntarily remove its 24 active planes until further notice.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that two of the engine’s fan blades were fractured and the remainder of the fan blades “exhibited damage” but it would not draw conclusions about how the incident occured.

Pratt & Whitney said it was coordinating with operators and regulators to support a revised inspection interval for the engines.

"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 FAA said.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency meanwhile said it was requesting information on the cause to determine what action was needed.

The latest incident is another headache for Boeing which is still recovering from the grounding of its 737 MAX planes which only ended late last year. In September last year the firm was heavily criticised by a US House panel for its failings over the two crashes experienced by MAX aircraft which killed 346 people.

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