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.
Disruption to British Airways flights due to additional checks required to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet is to now continue well into 2020.
This means the airline will have been grappling with two years of disruption. BA has addressed this issue through wet leases of aircraft and tactical cancellations. These will now continue into the first quarter of 2020.
The latest update from Rolls-Royce in late September 2019 was that the number of “Aircraft On Ground” across all affected airlines should reach single digits by the second quarter of 2020.
BA has wet leased aircraft from airlines to cover certain routes.
Air Belgium is currently operating London Heathrow – Cairo for BA (BA155 / BA154) with an Airbus A340 aircraft. This will continue until Wednesday 6 November 2019.
Titan Airways will then operate London Heathrow – Cairo from Thursday 7 November 2019 to Wednesday 12 January 2020 with a two class Airbus A321 aircraft. There is no equivalent cabin to Club World on this aircraft and Club World passengers will be downgraded to premium economy, with an appropriate refund of their fare. Club World passengers are also entitled to a full refund.
Envelop Airlines is currently operating London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) until Sunday 12 January 2020. This is a two class Airbus A330 aircraft, with no premium economy cabin. All passengers have the option of rebooking on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and New York JFK. Also note, that American Airlines does not have regulatory approval to codeshare on BA routes operated by other airline on behalf of BA. Passengers who have booked on this route through American Airlines will need to rebook on to alternative services operated by either American or BA.
BA has also tactically cancelled some flights and routes. These are not flights necessarily operated with the 787 but have been cancelled to release aircraft for deployment elsewhere:
London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) is cancelled from Tuesday 14 January 2020 to Monday 10 February 2020.
BA has also tactically cancelled selected return flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi, Boston, Hong Kong, Muscat, New York JFK, Toronto Pearson and Washington Dulles.
As at Thursday 31 October 2019 around 16 return flights have been cancelled between mid January 2020 and mid March 2020. Ordinarily, we would publish a full list but the list produced for the travel trade doesn’t quite tally up to what timetables are showing on ba.com
If you are due to travel on an affected route, the best advice is to check the status of your booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund or reaccomodation on alternative flights to, or near to, your intended destination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As has widely been reported, 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.
The FAA Directive
The FAA Directive applies to operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with certain engine models manufactured by Rolls Royce.
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 Directive may be modified subject to remedial action by Rolls Royce.
Rolls Royce issued a statement on 13 April 2018 outlining which engines are affected. This has been acknowleged by Boeing.
The requirement for additional maintenance to Rolls Royce engines has been going on for some time and has impacted a number of airlines, notably Air New Zealand, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic. All have leased in aircraft to cover some flights. BA has also cancelled its flight to Doha for an extended period of time to release aircraft for other routes.
BA has made no official statement on the impact of this directive on the airline. As such, it is not known how many of its aircraft are affected. However, as BA currently operates the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a number of long-range routes to Asia and Latin America, it will inevitably have an impact on the airline’s operations.
British Airways has today unveiled its new first class cabin on the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.
The eight seat cabin is an evolution of the first class cabin currently found on Boeing 747, 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft.
To date, other BA Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft have operated without a first class cabin.
Featuring just eight seats in two rows of 1-2-1 seats, the cabin is significantly smaller than the fourteen seat configuration found on most aircraft.
The seat itself is essentially the same. However, elements surrounding it have been significantly modified.
Design modifications include a larger (and fixed) 23″ TV screen, a more accessible personal wardrobe and personal stowage, and a smartphone style seat control.
Features found on other BA first class cabins, such as the seat side personal lamp and shaded window blinds have been removed.
Some readers may be disappointed not to see more radical innovation from BA. However, we expect that a lower destiny seating configuration or items that add additional weight to the aircraft will not be pursued unless there is a clear revenue benefit to the airline.
The Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner will make its debut on selected flights to Dehli from 22 October 2015.
It will also fly to Austin (currently a Boeing 787-800 route) from February 2016, Abu Dhabi & Muscat from 5 November 2016, Kuala Lumpur from December 2016 and San Jose (launches 4 May 2016).
The aircraft is likely to be used to replace Boeing 777 and 747 aircraft and, as per San Jose, open up new routes.
The airline has a total of 22 Boeing 787-900 aircraft in order, in addition to 8 delivered Boeing 787-800 and 12 Boeing 787-1000 aircraft.
British Airways has today confirmed the first route to be operated by the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.
The aircraft will operate on selected flights from London Heathrow to Dehli (Indira Gandhi International Airport) from Sunday 25 October 2015.
One noteworthy aspect is that First cabin on this aircraft has just eight seats, compared to the usual 14 seats on most other aircraft. The exact design of the cabin is yet to be revealed. However, BA claim the First cabin features extra storage space and a single dial to control seat recline, headrest, lumbar adjustment and lighting. It also features a larger TV screen and a new touchscreen handset. That said, the seat plan for the cabin shows two rows of seats in a 1-2-1 configuration so we do not expect any radical changes.
The Club World business class, World Traveller premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins are expected to be the same as the Boeing 787-8 aircraft that are currently in operation.
The aircraft will have 216 seats in total with 42 Club World business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, 39 World Traveller plus premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and 127 World Traveller economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The Club World cabin is split between two parts of the aircraft with just two rows of seats in a demi-cabin behind First class (a further four rows are behind the galley) and we suspect this will prove quite popular.
There are a lot of anecdotal comments about the relatively poor comfort of the Boeing 787-8 cabin on BA so it will be interesting to see if any improvements are to be made.
The flights will operate five times a week on the BA257 from London Heathrow to Delhi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and the BA256 from Delhi to London Heathrow on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. This replaces a Boeing 777 on this rotation. The other daily flight to Dehli (BA143 & BA142) will continue to be operated by a Boeing 747.
Further route announcements for the Boeing 787-900 are expected in due course. Future routes are expected to include Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Kuala Lumpur.