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When an airline receives its first delivery of a new aircraft type there is normally a degree of fanfare, or at least a welcoming party.
These are of course not normal times. Today, Sunday 28 June 2020, BA took delivery of the first of twelve Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
Aircraft G-ZBLA landed at London Heathrow at 11:49 BST after being dispatched from Charleston, South Carolina at 23:37 EDT on Saturday.
A second Boeing 787-10 aircraft, G-ZBLB, may arrive shortly as there are reported movements of it in Charleston on Flightradar.
The arrival of the Boeing 787-10 aircraft is some six months later than intended. BA originally planned to take delivery of six Boeing 787-10 aircraft this year, with the first originally due in January and all twelve aircraft delivered by 2023. The first route was due to be Atlanta, but this may change.
IAG has confirmed that, since COVID-19, it plans to defer the delivery of eleven new long-haul aircraft between now and 2022 – some of these include planned deliveries at Iberia.
The Boeing 787-10 will take BA’s fleet of 787 family aircraft to 42. Compared to other Boeing 787 aircraft, the 787-10 is a larger aircraft, with a length of 68m, compared to 57m for the 787-8 and 63m for the 787-9, but with the same height and wingspan.
The most significant difference is that it has, based on official figures from Boeing, a shorter range of 6,430 nautical miles, compared to 7,355 nautical miles for the 787-8 and 7,635 for the 787-9. Other airlines operating the 787-10 include Etihad, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.
For BA, the Boeing 787-10 is configured in four classes with 8 seats in First Class, 48 seats in Club World (featuring BA’s new Club Suite), 35 seats in World Traveller Plus and 156 seats in World Traveller. The First seat is the same as on the Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as pictured above.
With so much uncertainty as to when, and to what extent, business travel will return, BA will inevitably look at the seating configuration of aircraft and the relative mix of premium and non-premium seating.
Update: The second Boeing 787-10 aicraft, G-ZBLB, landed at London Heathrow on Wednesday 1 July.