Angolan airline grounds Boeing 777s after engine problems.

WD, 24-12-2010 21:00:41

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LUANDA - Angolan airline TAAG has grounded its fleet of Boeing 777s after engine problems forced the planes to make two emergency landings in less than three weeks, a company official said Friday.

In the latest incident, a Boeing 777-200ER en route from Luanda to Dubai registered engine trouble in its right turbine one minute after take-off Thursday, forcing the plane to return to Luanda with 32 passengers and 13 crew on board, TAAG spokesman Rui Carreira told Angolan state radio station RNA.

The engine trouble came 17 days after another Boeing 777 travelling from Lisbon to Luanda began shedding metal pieces after take-off and had to return to Lisbon for an emergency landing.

"In the face of two similar incidents in the space of 17 days, TAAG has decided to suspend all flights for its Boeing 777-200ER fleet for the sake of caution and international security," Carreira told RNA.

"We will demand a report from the manufacturers of the motor and the plane, General Motors and Boeing, respectively, who will carry out an investigation to determine the causes," he added.

TAAG (Transportes Aereos de Angola) was banned from flying to the European Union in July 2007 over safety concerns. It resumed flights to Portugal in July 2009 and was removed from the EU blacklist in March.

After the ban was lifted, the airline announced plans to modernise its fleet. It is currently waiting for two new 777s ordered last year from Boeing.

TAAG has a fleet of three Boeing 777-200ERs that it flies 10 times a week to Lisbon, twice a week to Beijing via Dubai and four times a week to Rio de Janeiro.

The company did not immediately reply to questions on how the grounding would impact its flight schedules.

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