Boeing 777 Jets Grounded by U.S. and Other Countries amid Engine Explosion

An airborne United Airlines Boeing 777 engine exploded this weekend over Colorado, prompting the emergency landing of the aircraft. The fallout and investigation are still developing. Kyunghee Park joined Bloomberg News to discuss the potential impact of the engine explosion on Boeing.

The following is an excerpt of reporter Kyunghee Park’s interview on Bloomberg News.

Host: Not all of these 777-200 have been grounded as those ones which have these particular Pratt and Whitney engine.

Park: Yes it’s not all of the 777s are affected, its basically a particular series of P.W. engines that are on triple sevens at the moment. So far we know that there are some U.S. carriers and also Japan and Korea who are operating triple sevens with this engine at the moment.

The investigation is still ongoing. But so far what we know is that one of the blades in the engine broke off and in the process of breaking off it hit another fan blade and caused the debris to basically kind of fall off from the plane itself. So far we don’t know the full details of why the police have actually been cut off or how this happened. So it’s still under investigation. But I think the authorities are taking precautions to prevent any more of these incidents from happening.

Host: The thing is you never really have an incident like this. It’s almost like an explosion taking place within the engine itself and can wreak havoc in terms of debris hitting the aircraft let alone falling on the ground and can actually down the plane here as well. Do you have any idea how long these aircraft are going to be likely grounded. And indeed these fan blades are notoriously unpredictable given also what so Rolls Royces had to be going through to.

Park: Yes I think it really depends on what they find during the investigation. [Depending on] what do you find during the inspection itself as well. We’re not quite sure how long the grounding will take, but you also have to also be aware that a lot of these planes have actually been grounded because of COVID-19. Basically travel demand being wiped out because of the pandemic itself. So in terms of operations they won’t affect the airlines all that much given that most of these planes are grounded. But what said that you know the extent of the grounding will only be determined once we get more details from the investigation.

*Video provided courtesy of Bloomberg

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