US regulators announced additional inspections of Boeing 777s using the same type of engine that dumped debris over Denver on Saturday, while Japan went further and suspended its use while it considers what action it will take.
The regulatory moves regarding the Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines came after United Airlines 777s landed safely at Denver International Airport on Saturday after its right-hand engine malfunctioned.
United Airlines said Sunday it will voluntarily and temporarily remove its 24 active plans of this type from its schedule.
Pictures released by police in Broomfield, Colorado, showed large plane debris on the ground, including an engine bonnet scattered outside a house and what appeared to be other parts in a field.
Japan’s Ministry of Transportation has ordered Japan Airlines Ltd. (JAL) and Anna Holdings to suspend use of 777s with P & W4000 engines while considering additional measures.
On December 4, 2020, the Ministry of Transportation said that a Japan Airlines flight from Naha Airport to Tokyo International Airport had returned to the airport due to a left-hand drive failure about 100 kilometers north of Naha Airport.
That plane was the same age as the 26-year-old United Airlines involved in the Saturday crash.
United Airlines is the only US operator of the plans, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The US agency said other airlines using it are in Japan and South Korea.
“We have reviewed all available safety data after yesterday’s accident,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
“Based on preliminary information, we concluded that the inspection interval for the hollow propeller blades unique to this model, used only on Boeing 777s, should be increased.”
Japan said ANA operated 19 of these types and JAL operated 13 of them.
Pratt & Whitney, owned by Raytheon Technologies Corp., was not immediately available for comment.
Boeing said its technical advisors are supporting the US National Transportation Safety Board in its investigations.