FAA orders inspections of Boeing 777s after engine failure on United flight

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Residents take photos of debris that fell from the engine of a United Airlines aircraft in the Broomfield neighborhood outside of Denver, Colorado on February 20, 2021. A United Airlines flight suffered a fiery engine failure shortly after taking off from Denver on Feb. 20 en route to Hawaii, where massive debris is falling on a residential area before a safe emergency landing, officials said.

Chet Strange | AFP | Getty Images

United Airlines announced Sunday that 24 of its Boeing 777s are being temporarily decommissioned after one of the aircraft suffered an engine failure over the weekend that resulted in an emergency landing.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Sunday that the agency would order the inspection of some Boeing 777 jetliners powered by the same Pratt and Whitney engine, the PW4000.

The Japanese aviation authority has ordered airlines to suspend flights from aircraft with this type of engine until further notice, according to the FAA. United is the only US airline with this type of engine in its fleet, the agency added.

United Flight 328 landed at Denver International Airport shortly after take-off on Saturday afternoon after the right engine failed. No one was injured on board, but debris, including what appeared to be the large engine cover, fell nearby.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the incident.

“We checked all available safety data after yesterday’s incident. Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval for the hollow fan blades, which applies only to this engine model, which is only used in Boeing 777 aircraft, has been extended should be, “FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

United has another 28 of these aircraft in its fleet that are currently in storage. Airlines parked or retired dozens of planes after demand plummeted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engine makers Pratt and Whitney, a unit of Raytheon Technologies, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.