Civil Aviation Authority bans some Boeing 777s from New Zealand airspace


The Civil Aviation Authority has followed other international regulators and placed a temporary ban on some Boeing 777 aircraft from operating in New Zealand airspace.

This follows the recent engine failure of a United Airlines Boeing 777 equipped with a Pratt and Whitney 4000 series engine, while flying over Denver, USA on February 20, 2021. No one was injured in the incident and the aircraft landed safely.

Flight 328, carrying 231 passengers, was forced to make an emergency landing at Denver airport, and debris from the plane was scattered on the ground.

United Airlines and Japan’s two main operators have already stopped using 56 planes with the same engine.

The CAA notice effectively prevents this aircraft type from landing or taking off within New Zealand domestic airspace or transiting through it.

“We are taking this action out of an abundance of caution to prevent any potential threat to people or property should another engine experience a similar fan blade failure like the incident in Denver,” deputy chief executive of aviation safety Dean Winter said in a statement.

“We have quickly joined the aviation regulators in the United Kingdom and Japan in taking this action. We also note Boeing has recommended the suspension of all 777 with the affected engines until the cause of this failure is known. We anticipate that an emergency airworthiness directive will be issued by the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration to further clarify and take action on this situation.”

There are no Boeing 777 with the 4000 series Pratt and Whitney engines operated by any New Zealand-based airlines.

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