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United Airlines says FAA has cleared grounded 52 Boeing 777s to fly again

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A United Airlines Holdings Inc. Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

United Airlines said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the path for the return of 52 Pratt & Whitney-powered Boeing 777s that were grounded after an engine failure in February 2021.

“Late last night, the FAA issued the final paperwork on our Pratt & Whitney-powered triple sevens,” United’s chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said at a Bank of America industry conference.

The planes represent 10% of United’s capacity, “so it’s really, really material,” Nocella added. ‘You really can’t rush safety.”

United last week said it plans to bring the planes back gradually once they were cleared, starting later this month.

The planes were grounded after one of United’s 777-200s heading for Honolulu from Denver suffered an engine failure. It dropped debris in a residential area before returning to Denver’s main airport. No injuries were reported.

The FAA didn’t immediately comment. The planes’ return had been delayed through at least May 13 from an expected return in April, CNBC reported last month.

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