FAA launches new investigation against Boeing after plane engine catches fire

Boeing stock tumbled ahead of Monday trading after two of its planes broke engines on flights: a United Airlines passenger Boeing 777 on its way to Honolulu and a Longtail Aviation cargo Boeing 747-400 on its way to New York.

Boeing (BA) faced another precedent of aircraft breakdowns over the weekend, resulting in dozens of its aircraft temporarily decommissioned.

Boeing shares, which have risen 28.5% over the past six months, fell ahead of Monday trading.

Fire engine of a passenger Boeing 777

On Saturday shortly after takeoff, a wide-body passenger Boeing 777-200 on United Airlines Flight 328 in Honolulu, Hawaii, made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport, Colorado after its starboard engine failed.

United Airlines (UAL) said Sunday it will temporarily decommission 24 of its Boeing 777s.

The Boeing 777-200 pilots managed to make an emergency landing with the starboard engine on fire, but none of the 229 passengers and 10 crew members were injured. Wreckage from the plane, including what appeared to be fan blades and engine skins, fell in nearby Brumfield, Colorado.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the National Safety Board (NTSB) has begun an investigation into the incident.

The NTSB initially estimated that the Boeing 777-200’s right-hand engine caught fire from two fan blades that were damaged.

The Boeing 777-200 series is the first modification of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which began operating in 1995. These aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines, which Boeing subsequently ditched in favor of General Electric (GE) engines.

The FAA chief said the agency will inspect other United Airlines Boeing 777s powered by the same Pratt & Whitney (PW4000) engine. United is the only American airline with such an engine in its fleet, the agency added.

The FAA spokesman also said that the inspection schedule for the hollow fan blades will be changed for the aircraft.

Boeing 777 aircraft are also operated in Japan and South Korea. Japan’s aviation regulator on Sunday ordered the country’s airlines to suspend flights of these aircraft with this engine type until further notice.

South Korea’s Transport Ministry said it is looking into the matter.

Boeing 747 cargo plane catches fire over the Netherlands

A similar accident occurred on the same day, on Saturday, with a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane of the charter airline Longtail Aviation, flying 5504.

Shortly after the flight of the Boeing 747-400 from Maastricht (Netherlands) to New York, one of its engines caught fire, as a result its small metal parts fell over the Dutch city of Meersen and injured a woman, several cars and houses were also damaged by debris. The aircraft pilot made an emergency landing.

The cargo Boeing 747-400 was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, a smaller version of the engines in the United Airlines Boeing 777.

The Dutch Safety Council and Longtail Aviation made statements that the incident is being investigated and that it is “too early to draw conclusions”.

“These recent incidents with the 777 and 747 do suggest that there is a need to take a closer look at the older PW4000 engines, carry out inspections and maintenance,” said Sanjeev Kapoor, a former executive at SpiceJet Ltd. and Vistara, the Indian subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.

European aviation regulator EASA said on Monday that it is aware of incidents with Pratt & Whitney jet engines and is requesting information on the reasons to determine what action might be required.

Boeing shares were still 35.3% lower at the close of trading on Friday than a year ago. Boeing has received FAA clearance to fly the 737 Max only three months after 20 months of investigations. To obtain this approval, Boeing made a number of software enhancements to the 737 Max flight control system and made changes to the pilot training system.

The FAA said Friday it is tracking all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft using satellite data in accordance with an agreement with air traffic surveillance firm Aireon LLC.

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