In a statement Sunday evening, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said initial data indicated the need for more frequent maintenance of the Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with a type of engine called a Pratt & Whitney PW4000. Investigators appear to be focused on a potential malfunction of a part that is unique to these engines called a hollow fan blade.
The FAA said United is the only U.S. air carrier with this type of engine in its fleet. The regulator said Japan and South Korea are the only other countries with airlines that operate planes with the affected engines.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday it was investigating the causes of the engine failure incident, which local authorities said badly damaged at least one home and one vehicle.
United Airlines, which operated the flight, said it is temporarily and voluntarily removing the planes from its fleet “out of an abundance of caution” and is working with investigators to determine any additional precautions.
“As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced,” United spokesman David Gonzalez said in an emailed statement.
In an emailed statement, Boeing spokesman Bradley Akubuiro said the company is cooperating with investigators.
Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of Raytheon, did not respond to a request for comment.
Residents of Broomfield, a suburb of Denver, reported hearing a loud boom overhead, and a video posted to social media appeared to show the