JAL reveals fate of PW4000-powered Boeing 777s

The flag carrier grounded the widebody in February following two engine failures involving the powerplant

Japan Airlines says it will accelerate the retirement of its Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered Boeing 777s, citing no known reports of when it will be allowed to resume operation with the type. 

Originally slated for a March 2022 exit, the flag carrier’s 11 affected examples include eight -200s and three -300s.  

The -200 and -300 have become a cornerstone of JAL's domestic operations. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

In a statement, the operator said: “As there is no known report to resume the operation of P&W equipped Boeing 777s, and it is hard to foresee the situation as of today, JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all P&W equipped Boeing 777 by March 2021.” 

In response to an engine failure on flight JL904, which was operating from Okinawa/Naha to Tokyo/Haneda airport, on December 4, and a similar event on a United Airlines flight on February 20, Japan Airlines suspended operations of the widebody equipped with identical P&W manufactured engines on February 22. 

The impacted aircraft were being utilised for domestic operations and are expected to be replaced by Airbus A350-900s.  

In a bid to further mitigate the effects of the retirements, JAL plans to put jets earmarked for international operations on internal connections so it can maintain the frequency of flights. 

JAL's maiden 777 - JA8981 (c/n 27364) - was the 23rd example of the Boeing-built jet to the produced. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The national airline first took delivery of the twin-engine widebody on February 15, 1996, and has since accepted a further 45 jets.  

Its remaining fleet of the Boeing-built aircraft consists of General Electric GE90-powered -200ER and -300ER examples.