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Jakarta Post

Garuda Indonesia assures safety of its Boeing 777 fleet following Denver incident

  • Norman Harsono
    Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 23, 2021   /   09:56 pm
Garuda Indonesia assures safety of its Boeing 777 fleet following Denver incident Garuda Indonesia's 'masked' Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. (Garuda Indonesia/File)

National air carrier Garuda Indonesia has assured that its Boeing 777-300ER fleet are safe for flight as regulators in other countries scrutinize a similar aircraft model.

Garuda Indonesia said its 10 Boeing 777-300ERs were different from the Boeing B777-200s that had been grounded in Japan and were under investigation in the United States following a non-fatal incident a few days earlier.

Garuda’s model has General Electric GE90-115B engines, while the other has Pratt & Whitney (P&W) 4000-112 engines, which was the type behind the mid-flight breakdown of United Airlines Flight 328 on Saturday.

“As a precautionary step, Garuda Indonesia has inspected its entire B777-300ER fleet. The inspection shows all parts are serviceable and fit to fly,” said Garuda president director Irfan Saputra in a statement on Monday night.

He added that the inspection results had been handed over to the Transportation Ministry’s Airworthiness and Aircraft Operation Directorate (DKPPU), which oversees aircraft maintenance standards.

Garuda’s statement comes after Japan ordered on Sunday two Japanese air carriers to suspend use of its 777s with P&W 4000 engines, while the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), also on Sunday, ordered extra inspections of the models.

Aircraft debris fell over a suburb in Denver, Colorado, after United Airlines Flight 328, carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members, experienced a right engine failure soon after takeoff, engulfing the right wing in flames. The plane, fortunately, landed safely at Denver International Airport with no reported casualties.

In response, Boeing recommended that air carriers suspend the operation of a total of 128 777s powered by P&W 4000 engines, until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.

Read also: Boeing calls for grounding of some 777s after Denver engine failure 

“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,” the company wrote in a statement on Sunday.

Other air carriers have since grounded their 777s with P&W 4000 engines, including United Airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. The engine generally serves older planes.

Garuda last grounded a Boeing aircraft in March 2019 at the behest of Indonesia's Transportation Ministry. The company was ordered to ground its sole Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after another of the popular jetliner models crashed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, just five months after the same model belonging to Indonesian carrier Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea, killing all passengers and crew.

Read also: Lion Air, Garuda scrutinize Boeing MAX 8 fleet

Garuda’s statement is also meant to reassure customers over company services as it faces a sharp financial crunch due to domestic and international travel restrictions last year. The company booked a US$1.07 billion loss between January and September last year, a reversal from the $122.4 million profit it saw in the same period last year.

Garuda’s shares rose 1.23 percent to Rp 328 apiece on Tuesday closing. It has lost 15.03 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.