With Boeing 777-200s featuring Pratt & Whitney engines still grounded worldwide, JAL has opted to simply retire them a year ahead of schedule while United Airlines is flying them to storage and re-activating the 767-400.
Which Airlines Fly 777-200 With Pratt & Whitney Engines?
When a United 777-200 suffered an engine explosion enroute from Denver to Honolulu in February, airlines around the world utilizing similar 777 engines grounded their fleet.
128 aircraft were impacted by the suspension recommendation, including:
- 69 in service
- 59 in storage
- Korean Air
- United Airlines
These grounding were voluntary in nature in the United States and South Korea, but obligatory in Japan.
JAL Retires 777 Pratt & Whitney Subfleet
Japan Airlines (JAL) had already planned to retire these 777-200s in 2022 but have decided to retire its fleet of 13 immediately. In an update on its website, JAL noted:
JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all P&W equipped Boeing 777 by March 2021, which [was] originally planned by March 2022.
These aircraft were used on domestic routes. JAL nows says it will use Airbus SE A350s instead.
United Airlines Stores 777-200s In New Mexico, Re-Activates 767-400
Meanwhile, United has a fleet of 52 777-200s with the Pratt & Whitney engine and has no plans to retire them. Still, they may be out of service for awhile. In a memo to pilots, United said:
These airplanes, currently parked throughout the system, are being flown under a special ferry permit for storage in Roswell. Ferrying the aircraft will occur over a period of several weeks. Our Tech Ops team is working closely with both Pratt & Whitney and Boeing, and we will update you with any changes as we receive information.
That sounds like it could be awhile…
In the interim, United will bring back the Boeing 767-400 into service sooner than expected:
To meet network demands and temporarily fill the B777 Pratt & Whitney void in our network, we expect to return some of our B767-400 airplanes to revenue service earlier than expected. While specific route details will be announced at a later date, we are starting to take steps to ensure that our B756 pilots – beginning with those based at EWR – meet all the qualification and currency requirements to fly the airplane.
As noted above, the 767-400 will be based in Newark. The precise return date has not been specified.
Airlines are responding to the 777-200 grounding in different ways. JAL is simply retiring its subfleet with Pratt & Whitney engines while United plans to reactivate them but will begin to use 767-400 in the interim.