The FAA has increased already-tight restrictions on certain Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, leaving some airlines scrambling to change routes and find alternative equipment.
On April 17 of this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the unusual step of issuing an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) which drastically limited the range of certain Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes with immediate effect. The directive included 787-8 and 787-9 Boeing aircraft outfitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Series Engines.
“This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual to limit extended operations (ETOPS),” the FAA explained in last month’s emergency directive. “This AD was prompted by a report from the engine manufacturer indicating that after an engine failure, prolonged operation at high thrust settings on the remaining engine during an ETOPS diversion may result in failure of the remaining engine before the diversion can be safely completed. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.”
Aircraft covered by the directive were immediately limited to flight plans that kept the aircraft within 140 minutes of an emergency airport at all times. The move means most transatlantic and transpacific routes were now out of reach for the affected planes.
In recent weeks, the FAA has reconsidered its position. On April 26, the FAA amended the directive to limit the time from an alternate airport to no more than 60 minutes away – even further limiting the aircrafts’ use on long-haul flights.
Federal officials say the order only affects around a dozen aircraft of US registry. The FAA move, however, was quickly mirrored by counterpart agencies around the globe.
According to ch-aviation, the most recent restrictions will affect nearly a dozen carriers including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, LATAM, Thai Airways, Avianca, Air New Zealand, Air Europa, LOT, Ethiopian, Royal Brunei and Scoot. In August of 2016, All Nippon Airways announced it would replace the Rolls Royce engines on all 50 of the Dreamliners in its fleet citing “multiple engine problems” eerily similar to those described in the latest AD.
H/T: God Save the Points