LONDON – It’s becoming increasingly clear that United Airlines is having major issues with its older fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.
Over the weekend, a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 suffered an engine failure, resulting in a diversion to Lincoln Municipal Airport.
United Airlines’ Plethora of Problems With The Boeing 777…
In February 2021, United Airlines Flight 328 departed Denver and suffered an uncontained engine failure over Broomfield, Colorado.
N772UA was bound for Honolulu when the aircraft had to turn back and land back in Denver.
Following this incident on the Pratt & Whitney PW4000-112 engines, the aircraft was grounded whilst the investigation and FAA approval came about.
The picture above shows the significant level of damage the engine received as a result of the failure.
By May 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared the airline’s 52 Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft back into the skies again.
The issues didn’t stop there, however.
In September 2022, United Airlines flight UA149 from Newark to Sao Paulo had to return to its departure airport following sparks flying from the engines.
This offered the perspective that the same problems arising with the fleet’s engines had come up again.
Then, as mentioned, another United Airlines Boeing 777-200 suffered engine trouble, resulting in a diversion to Lincoln.
United Airlines’ Latest Issue: A Fine from the FAA…
It has now emerged that the Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a civil penalty of $1,149,306 against United Airlines for not performing maintenance inspections.
The FAA said the following in a statement released today:
“The FAA alleges United in 2018 removed the Fire System Warning Check from its Boeing 777 Preflight Check List, an inspection task required in its Maintenance Specifications manual.”
“Removal of the check resulted in United’s failure to perform the required check and the operation of aircraft that did not meet airworthiness requirements.”
It does offer the view that maintenance duties are not being properly undertaken by the airline, which is why this fine is being proposed.
According to the FAA, the airline has 30 days to respond to the proposal, with there being no indication of United Airlines’ reaction as of yet.
AviationSource approached United Airlines for a comment, and a spokesperson said the following:
“The safety of our flights was never in question. In 2018 United changed its pre-flight checklist to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777.”
“The FAA reviewed and approved the checklist change at the time it was done. In 2021, the FAA informed United that United’s maintenance program called for the pre-flight check by pilots.”
“Once confirmed, United immediately updated its procedures. We will review the FAA’s proposed civil penalty and respond accordingly.”
It remains clear that concerns over the United Airlines Boeing 777-200 fleet are still ongoing and has been an issue for many years.
Looking ahead, all eyes will be on the airline to see what more it can do to solve these continued issues.
The safety and integrity of these aircraft are important, and the standards set out by the FAA cannot be deviated from.
But for now, we will wait to see how United Airlines reacts to the proposed fine, as well as what the carrier is going to do about its continued issues with the aircraft type.