GE GENxB2 engine pair on a Boeing 7478 Stephen Brashear, Getty Images

GE: Despite Airline Fire, Engines Still Safe

General Electric describes its GE90 engine, in service for the last 20 years, as 'among the world's most reliable engines' and that the fire that forced more than 170 passengers to evacuate is an aberration.

In the wake of an engine fire on a Las Vegas runway, General Electric assures that other aircraft powered by its GE90 engines are still safe to fly.

A Boeing 777 piloted by British Airways was preparing to take off with 172 people on board Tuesday when the fire broke out in its left engine. The crew immediately aborted the takeoff and terrified passengers scrambled off the burning plane using emergency slides.

General Electric said it was sending technical representatives to assist an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, but insisted its engine was safe. The airline said that a total of eight people had been taken to hospital. All were later released after receiving treatment.

"Based on the engine fleet's service history, we are not aware of any operational issues that would hazard the continued safe flight of aircraft powered by these engines," GE said.

Boeing and British Airways, which sent letters of apology to passengers on flight BA2276, were also taking part in the probe.

GE issued a statement saying the engine has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering service 20 years ago: "The GE90 is among the world's most reliable engines,” the company said, “powering more than 900 Boeing 777 aircraft and accumulating more than 50 million flight hours."

Richard Aboulaffia, an aeronautics expert, agreed that the Boeing 777 is one of the world's most reliable aircraft, telling AFP that the Las Vegas incident should not affect either Boeing or GE.

The jet was preparing to leave for London when it experienced what its pilot later described as a "catastrophic engine failure."

Aviation expert Julian Bray said: "It was a textbook emergency evacuation under difficult conditions because that smoke was thick, black and acrid."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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