BA Boeing 787 Cancellations June Update

Here is the latest on the impact of Rolls-Royce engine inspections on British Airways Boeing 787 flights at London Heathrow.

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

British Airways Boeing 787 flights continue to disrupted by additional maintenance to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet.

Here is a summary of the issue as of Sunday 17 June 2018.

Background

Operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are required to comply with an Air Worthiness Directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.

It limits the scope of the ETOPS (“Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard”). ETOPS allows twin-engined aircraft like the Boeing 787 to operate between 60 and 330 minutes’ away from the nearest airport that can handle a diversion of the aircraft.

This affects aircraft with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 “Package C” engines. Rolls-Royce has also issued a statement on Monday 11 June 2018 advising that additional checks may be required on “Package B” engines. BA has not commented on the issue since the latest Rolls-Royce statement.

The Boeing 787 at BA

The Boeing 787 represents about 20% of BA’s widebody long-haul fleet.

BA has 10 Boeing 787-8 aircraft. These operate in a three class configuration, with no First Class. They ordinarily operate, bar occasional substitutions by 787-9 aircraft, to Baltimore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, and Seoul.

BA has 18 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. These all operate in a four class configuration. They are ordinarily operate to Abu Dhabi, Mexico City, Santiago, San Jose, The Seychelles and Tokyo Narita.

The 787 also operates selected frequencies to Cairo, Moscow, Mumbai, Newark, and Toronto. These vary by both flight number and day of operation.

BA is due to take delivery of a further 2 Boeing 787-8 and 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft and these are not expected to be affected by this issue.

In response to this issue, BA has grounded seven aircraft, leased in three aircraft from Qatar Airways and undertaken both blanket and ad-hoc/tactical cancellations.

Grounded Aircraft

Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group, said the airline expects to ground 7 aircraft and, before Rolls-Royce’s latest announcement, this issue is expected to continue to at least August 2018.

According to publicly available flight data, two BA Boeing 787-8 aircraft have been out of service for some weeks:

G-ZBJD – Last passenger flight 28 May 2018
G-ZBJE – Last passenger flight 7 March 2018

Five Boeing 787-9 aircraft were grounded almost simultaneously in early June:

G-ZBKC – Last passenger flight 8 June 2018
G-ZBJK – Last passenger flight 8 June 2018
G-ZBJL – Last passenger flight 9 June 2018
G-ZBKN – Last passenger flight 9 June 2018
G-ZBKO – Last passenger flight 8 June 2018

Route Suspensions

Whilst it is highly unlikely that engine issues were the sole reason, two Boeing 787 routes have been suspended.

Luanda was suspended from Thursday 7 June 2018. Calgary has been suspended for the winter from from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

Leasing Of Aircraft

BA has leased three Airbus A330-200 aircraft from Qatar Airways to cover the following routes:

London Heathrow – Delhi: BA143 up to Monday 20 August 2018 and BA142 up to Tuesday 21 August 2018.

London Heathrow – Kuwait: BA157 up to Saturday 30 June 2018 and BA156 Kuwait up to Sunday 1 July 2018.

London Heathrow – Muscat: BA79 up to Monday 20 August 2018 and BA80 up to Tuesday 21 August 2018.

There are a wide range of rebooking options depending on the route and class of travel. More detailed guidance is available here.

Blanket Suspensions

BA has undertaken targeted blanket suspensions on four routes:

London Heathrow – Doha: BA123 is cancelled up to Friday 31 August 2018. BA122 is cancelled up to Saturday 1 September 2018. More details of rebooking arrangements are here.

London Heathrow – Los Angeles: BA281 and BA280 are cancelled up to Thursday 5 July 2018.

Passengers can be re-accommodated on one of four daily American Airlines and BA flights from London Heathrow to Los Angeles.

London Heathrow – San Jose: BA279 and BA278 are cancelled up to Sunday 17 June 2018.

London Heathrow – Tokyo Narita: BA5 and BA6 are cancelled up 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.

Ad-hoc / Tactical Cancellations

The following flights have also been subject to occasional ad-hoc / tactical cancellations:

London Heathrow – Baltimore: BA229 / BA228

London Heathrow – Newark: BA189 / BA188

London Heathrow – Philadelphia: BA69 / BA68

Guidance for passengers

Given the fluid nature of the situation and that checks may be required on more engines than first thought, it is likely there will be further cancellations. This comes at the worst time for airlines as there is less slack in schedules during the summer season.

It is recommended that passengers keep a close eye on their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool. You can also download the BA app to your smartphone or tablet which will alert you to changes to your bookings.

We welcome any thoughts and comments below: