BA and Virgin ‘told some planes must fly within an hour of airports’
British Airways and Virgin passengers could face increased flight times after authorities ordered some planes to be within an hour of airports.
Concerns over potential wear and tear problems on engines – that are only used on some planes – have seen an small number grounded and others facing longer flight routes.
The problems mean that some transatlantic flights could face an increased flying time of up to an hour – extending journey times to eight hours to New York.
The issue surrounds Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 package C engines, used to power some Boeing 787-9 planes, that are being felt by airlines across the world.
Earlier this month, the manufacturer announced it was carrying out extra inspections on the engines about which concerns were first raised over two years ago.
It has seen some planes grounded and caused the airlines to switch flight routes while precautionary inspections take place.
While the inspections are carried out, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an order which means some 787 planes must fly within an hour of an airport in the case of an emergency.
Many BA 787-9s are allowed to fly within 180 minutes of the nearest airport, while others must pass within 140 minutes of touchdown.
However, others must fly just 60 minutes from touchdown.
But British Airways and Virgin told Mirror Online they did not expect any disruption to flight operations.
British Airways operates its 17 Dreamliner planes on popular routes such as Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Abu Dhabi and Moscow.
The aircrafts are capable of carrying up to 344 passengers.
A British Airways spokeswoman said: "The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we would never operate an aircraft if it was unsafe to do so.
"Like other airlines around the world, we are carrying out detailed precautionary inspections on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on some of our Boeing 787-9s to ensure we meet all the relevant regulatory requirements.
"Our Flight Operations and Flight Planning teams have enormous experience in managing flight paths on our global network every day.
"Every flight plan we create meets all of the relevant safety regulations, which we always adhere to."
Virgin, which also has 17 Dreamliners, has added an additional number of Airbus aircraft to its fleet to limit the impact.
A Virgin spokeswoman said: "We have absolute confidence in our fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft and we don’t anticipate any impact on flying schedule.
"There is an industry wide shortage of Trent 1000 engines, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this has no impact on our customers journeys – including adding additional aircraft to our fleet."
Problems with the Trent 1000 engine were first raised two years ago, when Japanese airline ANA grounded planes to replace engines which had corroded turbine blades.
Yesterday, Rolls-Royce said it was working quickly to repair problems with some of the engines which have seen plane grounded.
The company said the problems will be fully resolved by 2022, though chief executive Warren East added he hoped for a faster resolution.
He told shareholders: "Based on where we are at the moment, we would expect to remove the aircraft on the ground situation much, much faster than 2022.”
According to Reuters, there are 380 package C engines currently in service with airlines across the world including BA and Virgin.
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