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FAA Severely Limits Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Range

FAA Severely Limits Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Range
Jeff Edwards

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

View Comments (13)


  1. Cymbo

    May 9, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    That will teach Air New Zealand and its heavy influence from British-originating engineers from being seduced by Rolls Royce engine salesmen!

  2. Dave510

    May 9, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    The article gives me much more confidence in ANA’s safety, as they had the foresight to realize the RR engines had safety and reliability issues way before other airlines and the regulatory agencies.

  3. nequine

    May 10, 2018 at 4:24 am

    We should have been flying on a BA Dreamliner in a few weeks time but its been changed to a 777 instead.

  4. JamesLoughney

    May 10, 2018 at 5:10 am

    US protectionism – these restrictions are a subtle way of leaning on airlines to choose a US engine. Wrap it all up in some pseudo-safety nonsense, to avoid accusations of unfair trade discrimination.

  5. horseymike

    May 10, 2018 at 5:16 am

    Time to bring back the Queen of the sky, The Boeing 747.

  6. rlo4934

    May 10, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Selected a flight from AKL-HNL on ANZ so we could fly on the 787, hope it’s resolved by September.

  7. brianallen

    May 10, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Seems none of the effected carriers recall Lockheed’s otherwise pretty-darned fine L-1011 Tri-Star and its type-destroying two-and-three (per flight) RR RB-211 washing-machine um “engine” failures.

  8. SkyPilot3

    May 10, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Airlines should get back into the 747, for the sake of safety and long-distance travel. Invest in the 747-8.

  9. glennaa11

    May 10, 2018 at 9:39 am

    wow. so what will happen now if all of these airlines can’t execute these flights? I presume that there aren’t enough spare a/c out there to make up the shortfall. Is there a fix for the engines? I have a LOT flight scheduled for September….

  10. k_jupiter

    May 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    This explains the issues ANZ was having over Christmas with their fleet of 787-9. Caused all sorts of issues with scheduling. They were shuffling airplanes faster than a card shark. The PR fallout was pretty enormous as many disputes in their !Flightcomment program took months to resolve. Personally, I don’t care for the airplane with its auto darkening windows. But go back to a 747? I think not. As fine an airplane as it was, I had way too many United flights from SFO to FRA that have ruined it for me. Someone mentioned the L1011… Nice airplane. t

  11. sddjd


    May 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Protectionism has something to do with the cracking and corrosion in the compressor and turbine blades described by RR in its advisory? The engines don’t meet ETOPS requirements and so cannot safely operate in such scenarios.

    Curious that the FAA directive came after the EASA took essentially the same action.

  12. Tango Alpha

    May 10, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    So SkyPilot3 and horseymike: what is your documentation, that twin engine ETOPS has any safety problems?

  13. IanFromHKG

    May 13, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    I assume Cymbo and Dave510 would prefer ANZ to have chosen GE engines for their B787s. But wait – GE are 50:50 JV partners in CFM engines – like the one that spectacularly exploded recently, shattering a window on a Southwest plane causing depressurisation, a passenger to be partially sucked out of the fuselage at altitude, and the death of another passenger. And it isn’t as if problems are limited only to GE’s JV, they affect GE’s own engines as well: In 2012 a GE fanshaft cracked causing a collision between turbine blades and static vanes resulting in metal parts being spewed out all over the runway. In 2016 a turbine disk broke apart causing an uncontained engine failure and a major fire (and debris hitting a warehouse 1,000 yards away).

    You could find examples like this for EVERY major engine manufacturer – RR, GE, CFM, P&W… At the moment, CFM and RR are in the spotlight – but at least the RR Trent 100 C engine issues haven’t caused any fires, explosions, crashes or deaths.

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