United Airlines Grounds Fleet after Tragic Engine Failure

United Airlines has grounded 24 of its Boeing 777 aircraft models after a catastrophic engine failure on one of its jets on Saturday.

The plane, carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew, was forced to return to Denver airport. No injuries were reported.

Debris from the jet was found scattered over a nearby residential area.

In response to the incident, Japan has asked all airlines using Boeing 777s with the same Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine to avoid its airspace.

Boeing said it supported Japan’s decision and has recommended suspending operations of all 777s with the same engine while an investigation into the incident continues. The manufacturer says there are 69 Boeing 777s currently in service worldwide with this engine.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United is the only US airline flying such planes, with the others being in Japan and South Korea.

United Flight 328, bound for Honolulu, suffered a failure in its right-hand engine, the FAA said.

The agency has ordered extra inspections of Boeing 777 jets fitted with the Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine following the incident.

“We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident,” said FAA administrator Steve Dickson in a statement.

“Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”

The FAA is meeting representatives from the engine firm and Boeing.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s initial finding is that most of the damage occurred in the right engine, where two fan blades were fractured and other blades also impacted. The main body of the aeroplane suffered only minor damage.