Boeing 787 engine problems are causing serious disruptions to flights with Air New Zealand, LATAM Airlines, British Airways and several other airlines. But, thankfully, not all airlines operating the Dreamliner are affected. Here’s what you need to know…
What are the Boeing 787 engine problems?
Some airlines have discovered that the turbine blades in their Dreamliners’ engines have cracked or corroded. This problem was first detected around two years ago. But it gained more attention last December, when two Air New Zealand flights had to return to Auckland with engine problems and were subsequently grounded.
The problem only affects a specific type of Rolls Royce engine on the Boeing 787-9. It does not affect General Electric (GE) engines, nor other Dreamliner models. Around one-third of Boeing 787-9s are fitted with Rolls Royce engines.
Affected airlines have been ordered to inspect their engines, and some airlines have had to replace engines on their aircraft. In the meantime, the US Federal Aviation Administration is requiring affected aircraft to remain within an hour of an airport at all times.
Which airlines are affected?
As Qantas, American Airlines, Etihad Airways and Japan Airlines (among others) operate Boeing 787-9s with GE engines, they are not affected. Jetstar, which operates Boeing 787-8s, is also unaffected.
But many airlines do have Boeing 787-9s with the affected Rolls Royce engines. These include Air New Zealand, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian Air Shuttle, LATAM Airlines and Air China.
How are airlines responding?
The Boeing 787 engine problems have caused schedule disruptions for affected airlines. Air New Zealand currently has two Dreamliners out of service, and has had to make many schedule and aircraft changes as a result. These changes affect hundreds of Air New Zealand flights. Plus, Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Honolulu will be operated by leasing company Hi Fly between 22 May and 10 June. Hi Fly also operated Air New Zealand’s flights between Auckland, Sydney and Perth during the previous summer period due to Boeing 787 engine problems.
Read more about the Air New Zealand changes: Air NZ action on B789 problems
Other airlines have also been scrambling to adjust their schedules. Norwegian Air Shuttle is leasing Boeing 777s to replace its grounded Dreamliners on some trans-Atlantic routes. Read more about the Norwegian Air Shuttle changes: Norwegian leases 777s to replace 787s on select routes
Meanwhile, LATAM Airlines is leasing additional aircraft from Wamos Air while the engines on its Boeing 787 fleet are inspected. AFF member juddles recently flew on one of these Wamos Air aircraft.
Most other airlines continue to operate services as normal, although some flights are being forced to take a longer route.