SEOUL – South Korea’s two major airlines announced on Monday the suspension of flights of all Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with the same engine models fitted in the jets that suffered a mid-flight failure in the United States over the weekend.
The decision by Korean Air and Asiana affects aircraft equipped with PW-4000 engines, of the same family as the Boeing plane in concern in the US, although none of them have the exact engine model, a transport ministry spokesperson told EFE.
These two airlines, along with the low cost Jin Air, together have 29 models of Boeing 777 with PW-4000 engines.
However, only 17 of the 29 planes were operational of late due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They include six planes of Korean Air, seven of Asiana and four belonging to Jin Air.
Jin Air has said it will wait for recommendations from the local authorities before deciding on a move.
South Korea’s Ministry of Transport has not taken any decision regarding the operations of the Boeing 777 aircraft on its territory and is awaiting a recommendation from the US Federal Aviation Administration in the coming hours.
The suspension affects aircraft equipped with “Pratt & Whitney” type engines.
A United Airlines aircraft fitted with the same engine mode suffered a mid-air crash after departing on Saturday from the US city of Denver in Colorado for Honolulu in Hawaii.
The aircraft had to return and make an emergency landing after its engine shed its parts in shreds on a suburb of Denver, the authorities said.
The Boeing 777-200 plane returned to Denver International Airport and landed “safely after experiencing a failure in its right engine shortly after takeoff,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
Boeing also recommended on Monday the suspension of 69 in-service jets and 59 in the store. All of these planes have “Pratt & Whitney” type engines.
Earlier on Monday, the Japanese authorities suspended flights of all Boeing 777 aircraft with the same engine models, affecting 13 jets operated by the Japanese Airlines (JAL) and another 19 by All Nippon Airways (ANA).