BA Updates on Boeing 787 Dreamliner Engine Issues

BA has confirmed that its Boeing 787 flights are likely to be disrupted due to Rolls Royce engine maintenance requirements until August 2018.

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BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

IAG, the parent company of British Airways, provided an update yesterday, Friday 4 May, on the impact of a recent Federal Aviation Administration Directive on Boeing 787 aircraft with certain Rolls Royce engines.

This affects the ETOPS certification of the aircraft which determines how far they can fly away from the nearest diversionary airport.

At the time of writing, one Boeing 787-8 and one Boeing 787-9 aircraft has been out of service for at least a week. BA has 9 Boeing 787-8 and 17 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in service. Together, they represent about 20% of BA’s wide body long-haul fleet.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh has not hidden his dissatisfaction over the issue. Given that IAG is currently in negotiations with Airbus and Boeing over future long-haul aircraft orders, there will be even more pressure on Rolls Royce to resolve this.

London Heathrow Cancellations

Since mid-April a number of flights have been proactively cancelled on selected Boeing 787 routes from London Heathrow. This issue is going to continue until at least August of this year.

Routes that have been prone to cancellation include Baltimore, Luanda, Newark, Philadelphia, San Jose California, Tokyo Narita and Toronto Pearson.

DateFlight NumbersRoute
Wednesday 18 April 2018BA278 / BA279San Jose
Thursday 19 / Saturday 21 April 2018BA77 / BA 78Luanda
Monday 23 April 2018BA278 / BA279San Jose
Tuesday 24 April 2018BA184 / BA185Newark
Wednesday 25 April 2018BA228 / BA229Baltimore
Thursday 26 April 2018BA188 / BA189Newark
Friday 27 April 2018BA68 / BA69Philadelphia
Sunday 29 April 2018BA228 / BA229Baltimore
Monday 30 April 2018BA278 / BA279San Jose
Tuesday 1 MayBA92 / BA93Toronto Pearson
Tuesday 1 / Wednesday 2 May 2018BA5 / BA6Tokyo Narita
Wednesday 2 May 2018BA278 / BA279San Jose
Thursday 3 / 5 May 2018BA77 / BA78Luanda
Sunday 20 May 2018BA102 / 103Calgary
Monday 21 May 2018BA68 / BA69Philadelphia
Sunday 29 / 31 May 2018BA77 / BA78Luanda
Tuesday 12 June 2018BA188 / BA189Newark
Wednesday 13 June 2018BA228 / BA229Baltimore


Affected passengers have the option of rebooking on an alternative BA service three days before, or fourteen days after, the planned date of travel. Passengers booked on transatlantic flights can also be rebooked onto American Airlines.

Passengers can also choose an alternative destination within 300 miles of their original destination. However, any additional costs are at passengers expense. Passengers are, by default, also entitled to a full refund.

Los Angeles Cancellations

BA has also proactively cancelled one of five daily joint-American Airlines & BA flights between London Heathrow and Los Angeles, flights BA280 and BA281, up to Thursday 5 July 2018 (excluding Friday 25 to Thursday 31 May 2018).

Affected passengers have the option of rebooking on an alternative AA and BA service to Los Angeles three days before or fourteen days after the planned date of travel. Passengers can also choose an alternative destination within 300 miles of their original destination. However, any additional costs are at passengers expense. Passengers are also entitled to a full refund.

Note that the period of cancellation has been progressively extended so there well may be further cancellations.

San Jose Cancellations

BA279 from London Heathrow to San Jose, and the return BA278, is cancelled for the periods Friday 1 to Sunday 3 June and Saturday 9 to Sunday 17 June 2018.

Passengers can travel an alternative date near to their original date of travel, or to an alternative destination within 300 miles of San Jose, such as San Francisco. However, any consequential costs will be at your expense.

Tokyo Narita Cancellations

BA5 from London Heathrow to Tokyo Narita, and the return BA6, is cancelled for the period Saturday 9 June to Tuesday 26 June 2018.

Passengers can choose to fly on BA or Japan Airlines services from London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda (or to Tokyo Narita via Helsinki on Finnair or via Madrid on Iberia).

Leasing of aircraft

There was considerable interest after reported comments from the CEO of Qatar Airways earlier this week that they were considering leasing aircraft to BA.

IAG confirmed it may lease aircraft from other airlines, including Qatar Airways. Whilst it is true Qatar leased aircraft and crews to BA during industrial action last year, this did require regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Authority as Qatar Airways is a non-EU airline. BA has not leased aircraft from Qatar Airways to cover additional flights at Gatwick as a consequence of the acquisition of Monarch’s slots.

If Qatar Airways does lease aircraft to BA, there are unlikely to be many complaints. However, it should be noted that Qatar Airways does not operate a premium economy cabin.

There was no mention yesterday of BA bringing back Boeing 747s from storage. Whilst this is certainly possible, it would take some time for the aircraft to undergo necessary engineering checks before they can operate passenger flights. And that’s before you even consider the condition of the cabin interior.

Advice for passengers

BA will proactively advise passengers of flight cancellations, provided that your e-mail and mobile telephone details have been entered on your booking on the Manage My Booking tool.

It is also a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone / tablet for monitor the status of your flights.

We welcome any thoughts and comments below: