All Boeing 777s with same engine as plane that caught fire in Denver to be banned from UK
All Boeing 777s with the same engine as the plane which exploded after take-off from Denver Airport in the US at the weekend will be temporarily banned from entering UK airspace, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. The plane miraculously landed safely despite the engine problem, although debris from the engine casing rained down on suburban neighbourhoods near the airport on Saturday. None of the 231 passengers or 10 crew were hurt, and the flight landed safely, authorities said.
United is among the carriers that has grounded the planes. Following the incident, Boeing recommended that airlines ground all 777s with the same type of engine.
Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration “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”.
Pieces of an airplane engine from Flight 328 sit scattered in a neighborhood on February 20, 2021 in Broomfield, Colorado (Image: 2021 Getty Images)
FAA spokesman Steve Dickson said that would probably mean some planes would be grounded — and Boeing said they should be until the FAA sets up an inspection regime. Japan ordered the planes out of service, according to the financial newspaper Nikkei, while noting that an engine in the same family suffered trouble in December.
Boeing said there were 69 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service and another 59 in storage. United had 24 of the planes in service. It is the only US airline with the engine in its fleet, according to the FAA.
Two Japanese airlines have another 32 that are being pulled while Asiana Airlines grounded nine, seven of which were in service, until Boeing establishes a plan to fix the problems. Korean Air said it was discussing whether to ground 16 aircraft, six of which are in service. “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,” Boeing said in a statement issued on Sunday, referring to American and Japanese regulators.
Pieces of a the engine sit scattered in a neighbourhood in Broomfield, Colorado (Image: 2021 Getty Images)
The engine maker said it was sending a team to work with investigators.
Video posted on Twitter from Saturday’s emergency showed the engine fully engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air. Passengers, who were travelling to Honolulu, said they feared the plane would crash after an explosion and flash of light, while people on the ground saw huge chunks of the aircraft pour down, just missing one home and crushing a truck. The explosion, visible from the ground, left a trail of black smoke in the sky.
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that two of the engine’s fan blades were fractured and the remainder of the fan blades “exhibited damage”.
But it cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusions about what happened.
United said it will work closely with the FAA and the NTSB “to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service”.