What impact a plane suffering engine failure over Denver on Saturday will have on Colorado aviation remains to be seen.
At the very least, the use of Boeing 777 airplanes, especially those with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, will be addressed and evaluated.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson called Sunday for immediate stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain engines.
“This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service,” he said.
Grand Junction Regional Airport Executive Director Angela Padalecki said the largest aircraft that comes
through Grand Junction is a 757, a FedEx plane, that arrives once a day.
“We don’t anticipate any changes to that,” she said. “We haven’t experienced any impacts to operations here or with our United service as a result of the incident (at Denver International Airport).”
Video of the plane’s engine failure immediately circulated online as debris from the plane was found Saturday in and around Broomfield.
The Broomfield Police Department asked residents who found debris in their yard or near their home to report it to dispatch immediately.
A Code Red was reportedly sent out to 1,400 residents in several Broomfield neighborhoods.
United Airlines announced Monday on Twitter that due to the engine failure seen in Flight UA328, which was supposed to go from Denver to Honolulu, it is voluntarily and temporarily removing 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from its schedule.
“Safety remains our highest priority, which is why our crews take part in extensive training to prepare and manage incidents like UA328,” the airlines said.
The airplane, which had 229 passengers and 10 crew members aboard, returned to and landed safely at DIA after about 25 minutes. No injuries were reported.
United operates several Boeing 777 aircraft on high-demand domestic routes and many other routes, the Colorado Sun reported.
Padalecki said the Boeing 777 is a very large aircraft that doesn’t fly to or from the Grand Junction airport.
A separate incident did impact the Grand Junction airport when flights from Montrose Regional Airport were diverted.
A malfunction to the weather system occurred at the Montrose airport, and it forced many flights to be redirected and land in Grand Junction instead.
The weather system is owned and operated by the National Weather Service and provides altimeter settings.
Because of standard operating procedures, most airlines will not land if the weather reporting system is not giving them all the necessary information they require, the Montrose Regional Airport reported.
“It was really busy for us Saturday night,” Padalecki said. “Most airlines could not land in Montrose, so we bused passengers to and from.”
She said the diversions led to more planes on ramps and more passengers in the terminal.
“There was a lot of coordination on the passenger side of things. There were a lot of skiers traveling, so they had a lot of bags,” Padalecki said. “Everyone involved did a great job to make sure everyone was taken care of, and I’m hoping that their experience in Grand Junction was a good one.”
Diversions during the wintertime are nothing new for the Grand Junction Regional Airport.
Padalecki said the airport dealt with 400 diversions in 2019, primarily from other Colorado airports.
“Diversions this time of year on the weekends are very normal for us,” she said.
With the increased snowfall experienced this month, diversions have started to pick up more for Grand Junction with several recent diversions from Aspen because of weather.