Feb. 22, 2021, 3:45 p.m. EST

Boeing 777 aircraft grounded after Denver incident

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By Pierre Briançon

The U.S. plane maker Boeing said it supported decisions by airline regulators in Japan and the U.S. to suspend operations of 128 of its 777 aircrafts powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines.

  • A 777 airplane had to make an emergency landing in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, after an engine malfunction made it shed debris over one of the city’s suburban areas.

  • Federal Aviation Administration director Steve Dickson said on Sunday that “immediate or stepped-up inspections” of the airplane were now required.

  • Boeing /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +0.63% said that 69 Boeing 777s powered by the incriminated engine were currently in use and 59 in storage, due to reduced air traffic brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • United Airlines /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL -0.35% said hours before the Boeing news release that it would voluntarily and temporarily remove its own 24 affected airplanes.

The outlook: The suspension of the 777s will have a reduced impact on air travel because of the continuing pandemic. But it hits Boeing just as the company was recovering from the 18-month grounding of its 737 aircraft after two such planes crashed in October 2019 and March 2019, killing 346 passengers and crew.

Read: Boeing 737 Max cleared for takeoff by EU regulators, ending nearly 2 years on the tarmac

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