United Airlines will keep Boeing 777 with PW4000 engines grounded

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Several Boeing 777-200 belonging to United Airlines will have to wait a little longer to be able to rejoin the fleet of the US mega airline. The planes were grounded after an incident that led to an uncontained failure in one of the turbojets of a United Airlines Boeing 777 in February 2021.

The incident found itself in the headlines for weeks after photos of Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engine parts fell on a Denver suburb and the photos were leaked on social media. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a post-incident investigation and issued a report shortly thereafter after discovering damage to the engine fan.

The aircraft in question was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, so all aircraft equipped with these engines were cause for scrutiny. Because of this, United Airlines decided to ground 24 Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with these engines.

These 24 pieces of equipment, which were grounded overnight, severely impacted United Airlines’ operations and future plans. The grounding has been in place for more than a year and while there were signs that planes could return to flight in the near future, all indications are that these plans will have to be put on hold once again.

An internal note from the company addressed to pilots indicates that due to the delay in the return of the 777 fleet with P&W, the itinerary for the month of May will have to be reconfigured to correct the lack of these teams in the fleet of the mega airline. The correction involves the removal of international routes and routes to Hawaii until May 25.

The company indicates in the memo that the planes should be ready to return to operations during the second half of May 2022. The lack of a long-range fleet for United is quite strong, after all 24 double-aisle planes is not a number. small for no airline. To make up for the lack of capacity, United reinstated a number of Boeing 767-400 aircraft to its fleet in late March.

As part of the fixes for the failure, the FAA issued a flight directive mandating more stringent inspections of the fans, using thermo-acoustic imaging technology for all PW4000 bidders. The FAA says that there are no defects with the engines, it was simply necessary to adjust the inspection intervals and their methodology.

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    By: Alfonso Vázquez

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