There is an issue with Rolls-Royce powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners which causes headaches for several airlines. According to Flight Global, the problem is that certain elements of the engines are wearing out too quickly.
Rolls-Royce are working on correcting the issue, but a shortage of replacement engines means some carriers are grounding aircraft. Two airlines in particular have gone for slightly different solutions.
Air New Zealand Lease From Hi-Fly
A friend of mine is scheduled to fly Air New Zealand and received an e-mail informing him that his aircraft would be changed. It says in part, “we have also leased two aircraft on a short-term basis from a European company Hi Fly to fly some of our trans-Tasman services.”
Hi Fly are a Portuguese charter airline which is going to provide replacements in the form of the Airbus A340. I like how transparent Air New Zealand are as they go on to write, “You will notice a difference in the products and service style on board, along with limited inflight entertainment.”
It is good communication to put it all out there in an easy to understand way. How easy? Look at the next portion. “This aircraft won’t have the familiar koru on the tail, and will also be operated by Hi Fly crew and pilots as our people are not trained to operate the A340 aircraft.”
Finally, a little reassurance – “Hi Fly is well regarded in the airline industry, and we are doing our best to ensure you will feel at home during your journey, including having Air New Zealand crew assisting the Hi Fly team on board.” Nice work, Air New Zealand!
Virgin Atlantic Fix Their Headaches
Four leased Airbus A330-200s will be arriving in the Virgin Atlantic fleet this year, which will address their Dreamliner headaches. They will be named Daydream Believer, Scarlett O’Hara, Honky Tonk Woman and Strawberry Fields.
This seems a little more permanent than the Air New Zealand solution and all four aircraft used to fly with Air Berlin. This points to the fact that they will be used for expansion planned over the summer schedule.
Why These Airlines?
Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand operate 13 and 11 Boeing 787-9 aircraft respectively. Neither is a particularly large international carrier which means there the headaches are much larger when it comes to finding aircraft to fill in.
Larger airlines would have enough aircraft to be able to swap some of the fleet around to cover, but smaller airlines don’t have that option. Two of Virgin’s fleet are in storage, so presumably two of the four new aircraft will cover for these for now.
Back in October 2017, I mentioned the issues affecting Virgin Atlantic. At that time they had Delta operate some of their services for them. Since the supply of new engines is still a problem, leasing in a permanent solution is for the best.
Cross fingers that Rolls-Royce will fix the issues sooner rather than later. Have you had any experience with 787 issues resulting in an aircraft swap? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons.
Air New Zealand image by Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia Commons.
With thanks to Flight Global and CAPA Centre For Aviation.