UPDATE 1-Colombia's Avianca grounds four Pratt & Whitney-engined Fokkers

Mon Feb 3, 2014 5:50pm EST

BOGOTA Feb 3 (Reuters) - Colombia's Avianca has grounded its four Fokker 50 aircraft used on domestic routes after detecting a fault in a Pratt & Whitney engine before a flight took off, the company said on Monday.

Disruption to Avianca's flight schedule will be less than 1 percent of available seats because it will use alternative planes on those routes until the cause of the fault is established, the company said.

In a statement on its website, Avianca did not describe the fault but said it believed it was one that was unlikely to recur. Avianca said all four Fokker planes, twin-engined turbo props, were fitted with engines made by Pratt and Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

A Pratt & Whitney spokeswoman told Reuters by email that the company was "currently working closely with all the authorities and our customer," and that the affected engine was model number PW125B.

Avianca, controlled by Brazilian entrepreneur German Efromovich, and Taca, owned by the Kriete family of El Salvador, form a conglomerate operating more than 150 planes flying to more than 100 destinations in 25 countries and employing 18,500 people.

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