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FAA Grounds Boeing 777 Airplanes Following United's Denver Incident

B777 engine failure

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will ground Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, following United Airlines’ engine incident on Saturday.

An engine onboard United Airlines flight 328 failed on Saturday as it was flying from Denver to Honolulu, showering the suburbs of the Colorado city with debris.

The plane, carrying 231 passengers, was forced to return to Denver airport on Saturday. No injuries were reported.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson on Sunday announced on Twitter, "After consulting with my team of aviation safety experts about yesterday's engine failure aboard a Boeing 777 airplane in Denver, I have directed them to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service.

We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday's incident. 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 planes.

The FAA is working closely with other civil aviation authorities to make this information available to affected operators in their jurisdictions. The FAA's aviation safety experts are meeting into the evening with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing to finalize the details of the Airworthiness Directive and any accompanying service bulletins to ensure that the appropriate airplanes are included in the order. Exact details of the inspection will be specified in the emergency order.”

United Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have stopped using 62 planes, while Korean Air added it will ground six.

In total, Boeing said 128 aircraft with the same engine as the Denver plane should be grounded.

Pratt & Whitney said it had dispatched a team to work with investigators.

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