How Many Aircraft Does British Airways Still Have In Storage?
British Airways was forced to send a considerable portion of its fleet into long-term storage as the effects…
British Airways was forced to send a considerable portion of its fleet into long-term storage as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt. While aircraft have been shuffled around, many remain grounded for the time being, which begs the question, how many?
The aviation industry is finally recovering, though the UK is a fair bit behind due to its strict COVID-19 travel rules. These are set to be relaxed in stages throughout October, but a large portion of the fleet will largely remain grounded until they are.
74 aircraft inactive
According to data from ch-aviation.com, 80 of British Airways’ aircraft are currently listed as inactive out of 257 in the aircraft’s fleet (not including Cityflyer’s E190s). Surprisingly, the majority of these aircraft are narrowbodies. Across the Airbus A320 family, 54 are currently listed as inactive by ch-aviation. This includes 18 A319s, 18 A320s, and 18 A321s (all ceo aircraft).
By comparison, only 20 of the airline’s widebody aircraft are currently inactive. This includes seven Boeing 777-200(ER) jets. While all of the airline’s Boeing 787-10s and -8s are flying, one of the -9s is currently inactive. This aircraft is being repaired after an incident earlier this summer. Additionally, the entire Airbus A380 fleet is now idle, accounting for the other 12 aircraft.
Along with the airline’s 787-8s and 787-10s, the entire 777-300(ER) fleet is currently operational, alongside all of the Airbus A350s and A320neo family aircraft.
Where are the aircraft stored?
British Airways got reasonably creative with its fleet storage at the very start of the pandemic, as it simply couldn’t store all its fleet at Heathrow at once. Many 747s were sent to Bournemouth, while several narrowbodies went to Glasgow. The situation has changed somewhat now. While two A320s remain up at Glasgow, Bournemouth has been cleared.
21 of the airline’s Airbus A320 family aircraft are at its secondary Gatwick base, which has caused a stir recently as British Airways decides what to do with the airport’s operations. The Airbus A380 fleet has a reasonably interesting storage plan. While one was recently returned to London Heathrow, three are in Doha, with a further two resting their wings in Teruel. Two Boeing 777-200s join the A380s at Teruel.
Six Airbus A380 aircraft are at Madrid’s Barajas Airport. They are joined by far more of the airline’s aircraft. Roughly 25 Airbus A320 family are resting their wings in the Spanish sun, with the majority consisting of the Airbus A321.
Will this number go down?
As mentioned, the inactive aircraft are heavily weighted towards the narrowbody fleet. Yesterday’s announcement that the US is reopening to European travelers seems to have spurred a considerable demand that could see some widebody aircraft returning to service.
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Later in October, the UK government is set to replace the requirement to take a PCR test after arriving in the UK with a rapid test. This should bring down travel costs and perhaps spur more short-haul travel. Unfortunately, the government has missed the busy summer season, with flight schedules usually quieter in the winter anyway.
When did you last fly on a British Airways aircraft? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!