Airlines in the US, Japan and South Korea have grounded several Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines after a United Airlines aircraft suffered engine failure on 20 February and shed debris over Denver, US.

On 21 February, Boeing recommended airlines to ground the aircraft with this engine type.

Boeing stated that 69 of the 777s with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines are in-service and 59 are in-storage.

The manufacturer had stated that all 128 jets are suspended until inspections are conducted.

The US carrier has now grounded its fleet of 24 Boeing 777 aircraft after experiencing the engine failure mid-air just after take-off.  However, the flight carrying 231 passengers and ten crew members safely landed at Denver International Airport after the engine burst into flames.

Pratt & Whitney has dispatched a team to work with investigators.

In a statement posted on Twitter, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said: “After consulting with my team of aviation safety experts about the engine failure aboard a Boeing 777 airplane in Denver, I have directed them to issue an emergency airworthiness directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.”

United Air is the only US airline operating this 777 model. Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines also fly the 777 with this engine.

Japan’s Transport Ministry has ordered Japan Airlines (JAL) and ANA Holdings to suspend the use of 777s with PW4000 engines.

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines stated it would stop flying this model. It owns nine planes with this type of engine.

Korean Air stated it would not make any decisions until the South Korean Transport Ministry issued guidance.

In a statement, Boeing said: “Boeing supports the decision by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney.”

Earlier this month, United Airlines returned the grounded Boeing 737 Max to commercial service, thereby becoming the second American airline to restart the aircraft after its global grounding due to two fatal crashes.