A Boeing 777 and a 747 suffered separate midair engine fires on Saturday, with both resulting in debris falling on the ground. Boeing (BA) stock fell.
A Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engine on a United Airlines (UAL) Boeing 777 bound for Hawaii failed shortly after takeoff from Denver. None of the 229 passengers or 10 crew members were injured. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.
The jet was a Boeing 777-200, a widebody that has been in use for 25 years.
On the same day over the Netherlands, a Boeing 747 cargo jet operated by Longtail Aviation also scattered engine parts on the town of Meerssen after its engine exploded and caught fire.
The Pratt & Whitney PW4000, a smaller version of the kind on the United flight, powered the cargo plane. The Boeing 747 landed safety in Belgium, but a Dutch woman was injured by falling engine debris.
United Airlines announced Sunday that it will take its 24 Boeing 777s with the Pratt & Whitney engine configuration out of service. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded the 32 jets they have in service following a regulator’s directive.
Boeing backed suspending 69 in-service 777s and 59 in-storage 777s with the Pratt & Whitney engines until the Federal Aviation Administration identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.
Raytheon Technologies’ (RTX) Pratt & Whitney said it dispatched a team to work with investigators.
Carriers can configure their Boeing 777 jets with engines from General Electric (GE,) Rolls Royce or Pratt & Whitney.
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Aviation Stocks Mixed After Boeing 777 Grounding
Boeing stock seesawed before closing down 2.1% at 212.88 on the stock market today. Raytheon fell 1.7%, while GE rallied 4%. Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems (SPR) added 0.6%.
South Korean aviation officials said they were waiting to hear from local authorities before ordering the grounding of affected Boeing 777s.
A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report Sunday found that two fan blades in the engine were fractured and the remaining blades had some damage.
The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive Sunday.
“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,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.
Boeing has been grappling with major safety issues in recent years. Its Boeing 737 Max only recently returned to service after a 20-month grounding due to two fatal crashes.
Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for aviation news and more.
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