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Japan Airlines Grounds Pratt & Whitney-Powered Boeing 777 Airframes

After a Pratt & Whitney powerplant exploded on a United Airlines Boeing 777 caused a worldwide grounding of airframes with the engine, Japan Airlines has decided to stop flying the aircraft. The carrier announced they will retire their 13 aircraft with the troubled engines aboard.

Japan Airlines will no longer fly their Boeing 777 aircraft powered by the Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engine, after one exploded on a United Airlines flight in February 2021. Reuters reports the carrier has permanently retired their fleet of 13 aircraft with the engines on board.

JAL Boeing 777 Retirements Accelerated by One Year

According to the airline, the Boeing 777 fleet was originally set for retirement in March 2022. However, after the incident aboard United Flight 328, JAL decided to accelerate the grounding by one year.

“JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all P&W equipped Boeing 777 by March 2021, which is originally planned by March 2022,” a statement on the airline’s website reads. “Passengers who have reservation on P&W equipped Boeing 777 Aircraft will be transferred to substitute aircraft in order.”

As the demand for aviation continues to grow, JAL will replace the aircraft on domestic routes with the Airbus A350. Other international aircraft will also substitute in on certain routes previously served by the grounded 777s to maintain normal operations.

While six airlines continue to operate the Boeing 777 with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines – including United, All Nippon Airways, and Korean Air Lines – JAL is the first to permanently ground the aircraft. Airlines are not currently operating the aircraft as the engine manufacturer is inspecting fan blades at their facility in Connecticut.

Accelerated Groundings Come After Engine Has Troubled History

JAL’s decision comes after the engine has been attributed to multiple incidents since 2018. United Airlines Flight 1175 had a fan blade failure in 2018, causing an engine to fall apart and sparking a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. A JAL flight in December 2020 also experienced an incident with the engine, forcing it to return to the airport after takeoff.

Sydneyberlin April 19, 2021

Should have bought airbus in the first place- they're just the better (and safer) planes these day.

edgewood49 April 11, 2021

And in all this Boeing has lost another "Boeing only" customer the march goes on away from BA.

dvs7310 April 7, 2021

Think "grounds" the aircraft in your title is the wrong term, they grounded the aircraft a long time ago after the UA incident. Now they decided to retire them early, rather than return to service.