The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday issued an emergency airworthiness directive calling for immediate or stepped-up inspections of planes similar to the one that caught fire over Denver this weekend.
The order covers Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines and “will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.
The order came after a United Airlines passenger jet powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines suffered a fiery mid-air engine failure on Saturday, forcing an emergency landing.
There were also no reports of injuries in suburban Broomfield, where huge chunks of engine and debris landed in yards, parks and on vehicles.
An initial review of the incident showed that “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,” Dickson said.
United is the only US operator with the PW4000 engine type in its fleet.
The airline said Sunday it would voluntarily and temporarily remove its 24 active planes with that engine type from its schedule.
“As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced,” United said in a statement.
The airline said it would continue to work with regulators “to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service.”
With Post wires