Boeing drops after airlines ground 777 planes following engine failure over Denver

Boeing 777
Pieces of an airplane engine from United Airlines Flight 328 sit scattered in a neighborhood on February 20, 2021 in Broomfield, Colorado.

  • Boeing stock fell 3% during Monday’s session in the wake of the engine failure of a 777 plane over Colorado on Saturday. 
  • Boeing recommended airlines suspend the use of planes equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW44000-112 engines. 
  • The National Transportation Safety Board found two fan blades in the United Airlines engine were fractured. 
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Boeing stock dropped Monday after the aircraft manufacturer recommended that airlines ground certain 777 planes after an engine failure on United Airlines flight rained debris over the Denver area on Saturday.

United Airlines said it will “voluntarily & temporarily” remove 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from its schedule. The move came after Flight UA328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure. The flight landed safely at Denver International Airport.

None of the 229 passengers or 10 crew members were injured, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement. Parts from the plane were found scattered around the Broomfield area, which is located about 22 miles east of Denver International Airport. The NTSB said Sunday an initial examination of the Pratt & Whitney PW4077 engine showed, among other findings, that two fan blades were fractured.

Boeing stock fell as much as 3.1% to $210.83 before trimming the loss to 1.8%.  Boeing’s shares over the past 12 months have lost roughly 33%. United shares, meanwhile, rose 3.5%.  

“While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol,” said Boeing in a statement Sunday, referring to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pratt & Whitney is a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. Raytheon stock fell 1.5%.  

Boeing said it supported the decision by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and the FAA to suspend operations of 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines.

“We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney,” Boeing said. 

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said Monday it has suspended the use of planes with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in UK airspace. The engines are not used by any UK airlines, it said. 

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FAA orders inspections on Boeing 777 airplanes after one experienced engine failure and dropped debris over Colorado

United Airlines Boeing 777-222
United Airlines Boeing 777-222 takes off at Los Angeles international Airport on September 15, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

  • A Boeing 777 operated by United Airlines experienced engine failure Saturday, dropping debris over Colorado.
  • The FAA is now requiring inspections of all Boeing 777 jets with a particular engine model.
  • United also announced they would be grounding 24 active aircraft as they conduct a review.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday he was requiring “immediate or stepped up inspections” of all Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with a particular engine model just a day after one experienced engine failure and dropped debris over Colorado.

“We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident. 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,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

The engine in question is a Pratt & Whitney PW4000 model, which the statement said are only used on Boeing 777 airplanes.

United Airlines, the operator of the plane that experienced engine failure, also announced it would temporarily ground all 24 of its active Boeing 777 planes with that engine model.

In a statement provided to Insider, United said it would work with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board “to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service.”

The statement said that United has 52 of these planes, 24 active and 28 in storage, and that the move to ground them should temporarily impact only a small number of customers.

United flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu, Hawaii was carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members when it experienced engine failure Saturday shortly after taking off. The Boeing 777 aircraft began shedding debris, some of which landed in residential neighborhoods.

One photo shows a large piece of debris that narrowly missed someone’s home. A video taken by a passenger on the plane showed one engine on fire while the plane was in flight.

The plane returned to Denver International Airport and landed safely, with no injuries reported from anyone on board or as a result of the falling debris.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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