Japan Airlines to withdraw 777 Pratt & Whitney-powered planes after United incident

FILE PHOTO: A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, Calif. February 14, 2015. REUTERS / Louis Nastro / File Photo

(Reuters) – Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) said it had withdrawn its fleet of 13 Boeing Co 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney engines a year earlier than expected, after suspending operations in February after an engine from a United Airlines plane threw debris.

“JAL has decided to accelerate the withdrawal of all Boeing 777s equipped with P&W by March 2021, which (was) initially planned by March 2022,” the Japanese airline said on Monday in a notice posted on its website.

JAL said it would use the new Airbus SE A350s on domestic routes to Osaka Itami Airport and use international planes for other domestic routes to maintain the frequency of flights.

Demand for flights across the industry is currently below normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Japanese carrier itself had an incident with the PW4000 engines in December, when a malfunction forced a JAL 777 bound for Tokyo to return to Naha Airport.

Engines are only found on a small number of the older 777s operated by JAL, United Airlines Holdings Inc, ANA Holdings Inc, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd, Asiana Airlines Inc and Jin Air Co Ltd.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration in February ordered the immediate inspection of 777 planes equipped with PW4000 engines before other flights after the National Transportation Safety Board found that a cracked fan blade on the United flight was compatible. with metal fatigue.

A spokeswoman for Pratt, owned by Raytheon Technologies Corp, said in February that the fan blades should be shipped to its repair station in East Hartford, Connecticut, for inspection, including those from airlines in Japan and Korea. from South.

Analysts had said airlines could speed up the withdrawal of planes due to the need for additional controls.

Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Christopher Cushing


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