Flag carrier Japan Airlines (JAL) has retired its Pratt & Whitney engine-powered Boeing 777 aircraft ahead of the original schedule.

The carrier was planning to retire its fleet of 13 777 powered by Pratt & Whitney engines in early next year.

The company said in a notice posted on its website: “JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all P&W equipped Boeing 777 by March 2021, which (was) originally planned by March 2022.”

Since February, JAL has suspended the aircraft from operations after a United Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 with this engine type suffered an engine failure.

The aircraft scattered debris across a Denver neighbourhood after taking off.

Besides JAL and United, other airlines in the US and South Korea have grounded several Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines.

The engines power a small number of older 777s operated by ANA, Korean Air Lines, Asiana Airlines and Jin Air.

JAL will replace the aircraft with a newer Airbus SE A350s on domestic routes to Osaka’s Itami Airport, reported Reuters.

In a separate development, Japan Airlines started independent trials with three digital health credential apps, namely CommonPass, VeriFLY, and IATA Travel Pass.

Testing of CommonPass was carried out on JAL’s Haneda-Honolulu route on 2 April and on its Narita-Singapore route on 5 April.

VeriFLY will be trialled on JAL-operated flights on Japan-North America routes later this month.

Meanwhile, IATA Travel Pass will be piloted on selected international flights in May.