After one of the jets suffered an engine failure, the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing recommended the grounding of hundreds of its 777 aircraft across the globe.
The flight, carrying 231 passengers, was forced on Saturday to return to Denver airport. There were no injuries reported.
United Airlines has grounded 24 of its 777s, while 32 jets have been withdrawn from use by Japan’s two major airlines.
In total, Boeing said that 128 aircraft should be grounded with the same engine as the Denver plane.
“While [an] investigation is ongoing, we suggested halting operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines,” the company said in a statement.
Pratt & Whitney said a team had been deployed to consult with investigators.
United is the only US airline operating this 777 model, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with the others being in Japan and South Korea.
The FAA said that United Flight 328, bound for Honolulu, encountered a malfunction in its right-hand engine. After it returned to Denver airport, debris from the plane was found scattered over a nearby residential area.
Following the incident, the agency requested extra checks of Boeing 777 jets fitted with the Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine. “We reviewed all available safety data following [Saturday’s] incident,” said FAA administrator Steve Dickson in a statement.
“Based on the preliminary information, we concluded that the inspection duration should be stepped up for the void fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”
The FAA is meeting representatives of Boeing and the engine company.
The initial finding of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is that most of the damage occurred in the right engine, where two fan blades were fractured and other blades also impacted. The main body of the aeroplane suffered only minor damage.
Source: BBC News