British Airways flights at London Heathrow will continue to disrupted by additional maintenance to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet in September 2018.
When the issue first emerged earlier this year, it was expected it would be resolved by this August. However, this is not the case. Whilst the situation has abated a little, there will continue to be disruption until the end of September at the earliest.
Here is a summary of the issue as at Tuesday 21 August 2018.
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.
In response to this issue, BA has grounded aircraft and undertaken both blanket and ad-hoc cancellations.
According to publicly available flight data, two BA Boeing 787-8 and three 787-9 aircraft are out of service:
G-ZBJA – Last passenger flight 6 August 2018
G-ZBJE – Last passenger flight 7 March 2018
G-ZBKD – Last passenger flight 16 August 2018 (returned to service on 17 September 2018)
G-ZBKI – Last passenger flight 15 August 2018
G-ZBKK – Last passenger flight 8 June 2018 (returned to service on 26 August 2018)
BA has instituted new blanket suspensions on three routes:
London Heathrow – Doha: BA123 is cancelled up to Friday 30 November 2018. BA122 is cancelled up to Saturday 1 December 2018. This will extend its period of cancellation this year to more than 8 months. Passengers will be reaccommodated on Qatar Airways operated flights. More details of rebooking arrangements are here.
London Heathrow – Los Angeles: BA281 and BA280 are cancelled from Saturday 1 September to Sunday 16 September 2018.
In addition, there are number of ad hoc cancellations during August, including 18, 20 – 29 August. Passengers can be re-accommodated on one of four daily American Airlines and BA flights from London Heathrow to Los Angeles.
London Heathrow – Mumbai: BA139 and BA138 are cancelled from Saturday 1 / Sunday 2 September to Friday 14 / Saturday 15 September 2018.
Passengers will be accommodated on alternative BA flights to Mumbai and India. Note if you choose an alternative destination in India any additional costs will be at your expense. Also note that the BA website currently quotes incorrect flight numbers BA39 and BA38.
In all instances, passengers whose flights are cancelled have the option of a full refund.
Update: BA has secured a rebooking agreement with Jet Airways. Passengers can fly on a BA operated service to Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and connect on to a Jet Airways service to Mumbai. However, please note that Jet Airways does not operate First Class or premium economy on these domestic services to Mumbai.
The following flights have also been subject to periodic cancellations over the past few months:
London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi: BA73 / BA72
This flight is cancelled on Sunday 9 September.
London Heathrow – Baltimore: BA229 / BA228
London Heathrow – Newark: BA189 / BA188
This flight is cancelled on Tuesday 21 August, Thursday 23 August, Tuesday 28 August, Thursday 30 August, Thursday 13 September, and Sunday 16 September.
London Heathrow – New Orleans: BA225 / BA224
This flight is cancelled on Wednesday 22 August and Saturday 25 August.
London Heathrow – Philadelphia: BA69 / BA68
This flight is cancelled on Friday 24 August and Monday 27 August.
London Heathrow – San Jose: BA279 / BA278
This is flight is cancelled on Saturday 8 August.
Air Belgium Wet Lease – London Heathrow – Cairo
BA is to wet lease an Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft to cover London Heathrow – Cairo from Monday 3 September to Wednesday 5 September, and the return from Tuesday 4 September to Thursday 6 September 2018.
More details here.
Air Belgium Wet Lease – London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi
BA is to wet lease an Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft to cover London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi from Saturday 15 September to Wednesday 31 October, and the return from Sunday 16 September to Thursday 1 November 2018.
More details here.
Qatar Airways Wet Leases
BA has previously wet-leased three Airbus A330-200 aircraft from Qatar Airways.
These have covered flights to Delhi, Kuwait and Muscat. These wet-leases have ended and all three aircraft have now returned to Doha.
Guidance for passengers
Given the fluid nature of the situation, it is likely there will be further cancellations.
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.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner at BA
In terms of background on the Boeing 787 at BA. It currently 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.