According to Reuters, Japan Airlines Limited (JAL) said that the 13 Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines operated by the company will be retired one year earlier than originally planned, and will officially cease operation in February next year.
The reason why Japan Airlines made this move was related to the engine failure of a Boeing 777 aircraft of United Airlines (hereinafter referred to as “United Airlines”) in February.
JAL said in a notice posted on its website on the 5th: “JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all Boeing 777s equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines by March 2021, which was originally scheduled to be retired by March 2022.”
Japan Airlines said it would use the newer Airbus SE A350 on domestic routes to Osaka Itan Airport and aircraft flying on international routes on other domestic routes to help maintain flight frequency.
In February this year, a Boeing 777 airliner of United Airlines broke down shortly after taking off from Denver International Airport and exploded in the air. Many engine fragments fell from the air. Fortunately, the passenger plane returned urgently and landed safely at the airport.
After investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident was caused by the rupture of the hollow fan blade of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine assembled by the passenger plane, which was related to metal fatigue. The FAA then ordered the Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with the engine to be inspected immediately before further flights were carried out.
It is worth mentioning that except for United Airlines, only Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Korean Airlines, Asian Airlines and True Airways operate a few Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with this engine. Last December, a Japanese Airlines Boeing 777 that took off from Naha Airport to Tokyo also suffered an engine failure, causing the plane to return.
Japan Airlines suffered a PW4000 engine accident in December, when the failure caused the JAL 777 to Tokyo to return to Naha Airport.
A spokesman for Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of Thunderbolt Technology, said in February that the fan blades of the PW4000 engine used by airline operators, including Japan and Korean Airlines, need to be shipped to a repair station in East Hartford, Connecticut, for inspection. Some analysts have said earlier that airlines may speed up the retirement of Boeing 777 aircraft due to the need for additional inspection.