Two of Boeing’s aircraft dropped engine parts over built-up areas over the weekend, in the USA and the Netherlands respectively. The plane is now temporarily stopped in the UK and several other countries.
One engine on a 777-200 belonging to United Airlines started burning above Denver on Saturday and spread debris over a suburb, before the plane could land in safety. No one was injured in the incident.
Around the same time, an engine caught fire on a 747-400 that had just taken off from Maastricht. Metal parts rained down over the small Dutch town of Meerssen. Among other things, they hit cars, but even a woman is said to have been slightly injured. The plane was going to New York, but landed instead in Liège in Belgium.
In both cases, it was engines from Pratt & Whitney.
In the 747 case, the Dutch Civil Aviation Administration has launched a “preliminary” investigation.
Several flight bans
As for the 777, Boeing announces that most such planes with similar engines are still parked for a long time due to the pandemic. But the company advises airlines to let all such planes stay on the ground until further notice.
This is therefore not a regular flight ban. However, different countries can make their own decisions and, for example, the Japanese Ministry of Transport has announced that the aircraft concerned may not be used.
On Monday afternoon, the UK also announced that the country would temporarily stop all 777 planes with Pratt & Whitney engines from flying in British airspace. However, the CAA has announced that no such aircraft fly in the UK.
According to Reuters, only the model is flown by airlines in the US, South Korea and Japan, all of which have imposed the aircraft model with a temporary flight ban.