MIAMI – The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan has grounded domestic airlines from operating flights using Boeing 777s fitted with PW4000 engines.

The decision follows a Japan Airlines (JL) Boeing 777 with starboard engine trouble making an emergency landing at Okinawa International Airport (OKA) in December and the recent United Airlines (UA) Boeing 777 emergency landing this weekend. 

NOTAM’s relaying the restrictions state that all Boeing 777s fitted with PW4000 engines are requested to avoid Japanese airspace until further notice. 

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ANA Boeing 777-200 at Haneda International Airport | Photo: Kochan Kleps

Domestic Boeing 777 Aircraft

Domestic aircraft affected by the grounding are 19 All Nippon Airways (NH) Boeing 777s and 13 JL Boeing 777s. The airlines grounded the aircraft on their own on Sunday following the UA incident. 

Although there is yet to be a confirmed correlation between the two incidents, the photos and scenes from the dramatic United incident were reminiscent of the JL incident on December 4, 2020. 

The aircraft are used by the airlines primarily on domestic flights to Hokkaido, Okinawa and Osaka among others. They are also operated by JL on shorter intra-Asian flights, primarily Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. 

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Korean Airlines Boeing 777-200 Departing Haneda International Airport | Photo: Kochan Kleps

Boeing 777 Alternatives

Airlines that also flew Boeing 777s fitted with PW4000s to Japan pre-pandemic include Korean Airlines (KE) and UA. 

Japan Airlines will have to focus on rescheduling flights using their aging Boeing 767 and new Airbus A350-900s on domestic flights and Boeing 787s on Asia flights. 

ANA will need to reschedule flights using older Boeing 767s and newer Boeing 787s and Airbus aircraft. 

United Airlines Boeing 777 | Photo: Brandon Farris

Although UA and KE have not operated flights to Japan using Boeing 777-200s since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the travel industry, their plans moving forward will undoubtedly be changed due to the NOTAM.

Other airlines that operate the Boeing 777-200 fitted with PW4000 engines are Vietnam Airlines (VN), Jin Air (LJ), Asiana Airlines (OZ), and Egyptair (MS). This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.

Featured Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

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