After suspending operations in February after an engine on a United Airlines plane shed debris, Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) announced that it had retired its fleet of 13 Boeing Co 777s with Pratt & Whitney engines a year earlier than expected.
“JAL has decided to accelerate the retirement of all P&W equipped Boeing 777 by March 2021, which (was) originally planned by March 2022,” the Japanese airline said on Monday in a notice on its website.
To help sustain flight frequencies, JAL said it will use newer Airbus SE A350s on domestic routes to Osaka’s Itami Airport and planes that usually serve international destinations on other domestic routes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airline demand is currently lower than average.
In December, a malfunction on one of the PW4000 engines forced a Tokyo-bound JAL 777 to return to Naha airport.
Only a few older 777s flown by JAL, United Airlines Holdings Inc, ANA Holdings Inc, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd, Asiana Airlines Inc, and Jin Air Co Ltd have the engines.