Grounding of P&W-Powered 777s Highlights Declining Popularity of Legacy Models

by Satu Dahl
United Airlines 777.

Following the grounding and temporary ban of Pratt & Whitney 4000-powered Boeing 777 aircraft due to a United Airlines engine failure at the weekend, travel data and analytics expert Cirium has put together analysis that reveals the temporary grounding is having a limited impact on global fleet capacity.

Travel Radar Editor Callum Tennant reported on Saturday that eyewitnesses described hearing a loud bang and seeing an explosion in the right-hand engine of flight UA328.

The findings of the Cirium analysis highlight the declining popularity of aircraft ‘legacy models’. The Pratt & Whitney (PW) 4000-powered Boeing 777 aircraft  had already fallen out of favour with carriers since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the analytics expert, daily flights by all in-service 777-200/200ER widebody aircraft, including GE Aviation GE90 and Rolls-Royce Trent 800-equipped models in February were down by more than three-quarters when compared to mid-2019 levels.

Cirium analysis

Graph supplied by Cirium.

N.B.: The graphic above also shows the impact of Typhoon Hagibis which struck Japan on October 12, 2019, causing the cancellation of half of flights by P&W-powered 777s for that day.

Out of the global fleet of 125, all 51 operational passenger-configured, PW4000-powered 777s had been removed from service by 23 February. This includes 15 stretched -300 models operated by All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Korean Air.

Cirium says United had the largest total inventory of PW4000-equipped aircraft – a 52-strong fleet of -200/200ER models – of which 19 had been in service prior to the United Airlines engine failure. Just over one third of the 183 remaining Rolls-Royce Trent 800-powered 777-200/200ER/300s were classified as in-service as of 23 February alongside approximately half of the 147 GE90-equipped aircraft, including 11 in United’s fleet. By contrast, Cirium says that 664 of the newer-generation and exclusively GE90-powered, passenger-configured 777-200LRs and -300ERs were in service, leaving only 174 in storage.

 

 

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