Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Boeing recommends grounding its 777 aircraft after engine failure causes near miss in Colorado

Boeing recommends grounding its 777 aircraft after engine failure causes near miss in Colorado
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Boeing has recommended that airlines suspend services of all 777 planes with the same type of engine that blew apart soon after take-off in the US on Saturday.

Most companies that operate Boeing 777 models said they would follow the advice to temporarily ground them.

The US Federal Aviation Administration ordered United Airlines to step up inspections after one of its flights bound for Honolulu made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport just 30 minutes after taking off.

Pieces of the engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4000, rained down on suburban neighbourhoods, narrowly missing local residents in the Colorado town of Broomfield.

None of the 231 passengers or 10 crew were hurt, and the flight landed safely.

United is among many carriers to ground Boeing 777 planes.

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A United Airlines plane lands safely in Denver despite its engine breaking up.

Not the only Boeing plane troubled

The news came as Dutch officials investigate a similar incident involving a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane which dropped engine parts soon after take-off from Maastricht on Saturday

It scattered small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen, injuring a woman.

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But 777 aircraft face broader scrutiny as Boeing tries to quell the concerns of US and global regulators.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said that based on an initial review of safety data, inspectors “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 planes”.

Mr Dickson said that would likely mean some planes would be grounded and Boeing agreed they should be until the FAA sets up an inspection regime.

Japan ordered its 777 aircraft out of service, according to the Nikkei financial newspaper, while noting that an engine of a similar make suffered trouble in December.

Boeing said there were sixty-nine 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service and another 59 in storage.

United, which is the only US airline with the engine in its fleet, had 24 of the planes in service, according to the FAA.

Two Japanese airlines have another 32 that are being pulled from operation.

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines grounded nine, seven of which were in service, until Boeing established a plan to fix the problems.

Korean Air said it was discussing whether to suspend operation of 16 Boeing 777 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.

A large circular piece of aircraft debris sits on grass next to a wooden house
Debris from the United Airlines 777 aircraft scattered over the Colorado town of Broomfield.(Broomfield Police Department)

The engine maker added that it was sending a team to work with investigators.

The emergency landing was the latest trouble for Boeing, which saw its 737 Max planes grounded for more than a year after two deadly crashes in 2019.

It is also suffering financial losses due to the huge reduction in air travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC/wires



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