ANA To Restart Pratt & Whitney-Powered Boeing 777 Domestic Flights

ANA has announced plans to gradually resume flights using its fleet of Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered Boeing 777s this summer. The airline will deploy the grounded aircraft on domestic routes to support the growing demand and follow the FAA’s instructions to fix the former issues.

Back into service

According to FlightGlobal, All Nippon Airways (ANA) plans to fly its first PW4000 777s soon after nearly 17 months of sitting on the ground. The then-14 jet fleet was grounded following a United Airlines incident in February 2021 that was engine parts falling over Denver. Pending a full investigation and corrections, airlines globally parked up their planes.

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The FAA approved the 777s to return to the skies in March following a technical directive and strengthening inspections for the engines. ANA plans to resume flights during the summer season, usually starting in July. The carrier operates 14 of the PW4000-powered engines, four 777-300s and 10 777-200s.

ANA is not the only one that has decided to resume grounded 777 flights soon. South Korean low-cost carrier Jin Air announced the move last week and hopes to have the plane back on international routes in a matter of weeks.

Capacity suffering

ANA Executive Vice President Jun Miyagawa spoke about the struggles of losing access to the 14 widebodies. These aircraft are configured in a tight layout for maximum capacity, leaving ANA behind the curve over the last few months. Capacity today stands at 80-85% of pre-pandemic levels, despite the number of flights already matching previous times.

ANA now estimates that it will return to full capacity by the end of the financial year in March 2023. However, this will depend on the continuing border reopenings and no further impact of COVID on the essential domestic market.

The 777-era has begun receiving partially in Japan as the 787 and A350 take center stage. Photo: Airbus

Japan Airlines, another operator, opted to retire all of its PW4000-powered planes following the incident in 2021. While this reduced the fleet size, JAL has tried to maintain capacity using modern aircraft like the A350 and more. This was part of a broader push to make the Airbus aircraft its flagship product after two decades of relying on the 777.

First flight already off

It seems that ANA may not be waiting all the way until July to start operating the grounded 777s. Data from FlightRadar24.com shows JA742A departed Tokyo Haneda for Fukuoka on Thursday afternoon and is currently on its way back at the time of writing. NH255 and N260 both look like regular commercial flights, meaning these aircraft are officially back to flying.

The 1 hour and 25-minute flight departed at 13:56 local time. Data and Map: FlightRadar24.com

This was JA742A’s first flight since January 18th, a gap of nearly 18 months of active flying while it was stuck in Tokyo. Expect to see more planes return to flying in the coming weeks as ANA hopes to maximize domestic demand in Japan after years of restrictions.

What do you think about ANA’s decision to resume PW4000 777 flights? Let us know in the comments!

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