CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — United Airlines is preparing to gradually return to service its 52 Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered Boeing 777s that have been grounded since February 2021 after an uncontained engine failure during a scheduled flight.

The US carrier expects to resume revenue flights with its 52 Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered Boeing 777s from May 26 after FAA approval.

"We can and will return the 777 to service, but we are still working through that with the FAA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney. We are very respectful of the role that the FAA needs to confirm that it is safe to return," 

said United's chief communications officer Josh Earnest.

"The current plan is for us to begin flying that on May 26, but all of that will depend on the individual assessment of the FAA, and we continue to work closely with them on that," 

Earnest added.

United's B777s were withdrawn from the service after a blade-out engine incident near Denver on February 20, 2021. A United Boeing 777 lost one of its PW4000 engines shortly after take-off. NTSB identified two fan blades had cracked due to metal fatigue, and the engine's inlet and cowling fell apart from the powerplant.

The aircraft safely returned to its departure base, but it was the third incident involving a PW4000 in less than three years.