The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Sunday it will be stepping up inspections of Boeing 777s that contain the same engine model that failed over Denver this weekend, with some likely to be removed from service.
"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," Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday's incident," he added.
Statement from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. pic.twitter.com/dGkUYuKNAL— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) February 21, 2021
Dickson was referring to an engine malfunction that occurred on a Boeing 777 shortly after it took off from the airport in Denver. The engine dropped metal debris into a Denver neighborhood, but the flight was able to land safely and no injuries related to the engine failure have been reported.
"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 airplanes," Dickson added. "The FAA is working closely with other civil aviation authorities to make this information available to affected operators in their jurisdictions.”
After Dickson's announcement, CNN reported that United Airlines said it would be removing 24 Boeing 777 airplanes from its fleet that use the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 "immediately."
Delta’s CEO said last year that the airline would be retiring Boeing 777 airplanes from its fleet amid ongoing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 777's will be replaced by Airbus 330s and 350-900s, which are more fuel and cost efficient.