British Airways Schedules Airbus A321 For 5 Hour Cairo Hop

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Anyone travelling with British Airways between London and Cairo from the 9th to the 19th of July may want to double check their booking. With the ongoing Trent 1000 issues continuing to affect the Boeing 787, BA has scheduled an Airbus A321neo for the route.

British Airways Airbus A321neo London Cairo
British Airways will be operating an Airbus A321neo between London and Cairo for 11 days. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

With the advent of the Airbus A321LR and the A321XLR, passengers should be getting ready for long haul narrowbody flights. However, BA’s A321neo is not especially suited to flying long haul. Recently, Simple Flying’s Karol spent six hours on a Qatar A320. He claimed that “flying for longer periods of time onboard an A320 become tiring”. He went on to add “it is difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep”.

What is being replaced?

From the 9th July until the 19th July, British Airways is operating flights to Cairo using an Airbus A321neo. The route is usually completed using a Boeing 787. The substitution will see the A321 operating flights BA154 and BA155 during these dates. It should be noted that the return flight operates between 10th and 20th of July.

  • BA 155 departs London Heathrow at 17:15 local time, arriving in Cairo at 23:15 after a five-hour flight.
  • BA 154 departs Cairo at 08:00, arriving back in London at 12:10.
The schedule has been updated to reflect the Airbus A321neo flights. Source: Google Flights

What should I expect?

If you’re travelling on the Airbus A321neo, you should expect a service similar to that provided on European short-haul routes. That is to say the interior will be divided into two cabins, but all will have the same seat.

Expert Flyer shows that on the 9th of July, the first eight rows will be allocated to business class passengers, likely in a 2-2 configuration with middle seats blocked. Meanwhile, the remaining rows are being sold in the typical 3-3 configuration. While the flight on the 9th of July appears to be fully booked, seats are available on the other dates. However, only economy tickets are on sale.

British Airways Airbus A321neo London Cairo
All passengers could have the same seat regardless of class. Photo: British Airways

On each day that the A321neo is currently scheduled, ticket prices are £1,729 with British Airways. However, EgyptAir is also offering direct flights on these dates. EgyptAir operates two flights daily, an afternoon flight from Heathrow operated by a Boeing 777, and an overnight flight operated by a Boeing 737. Additionally, at the time of writing, EgyptAir prices ranged from £479 to £923 for the period.

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Why is the substitution taking place?

Boeing 787 operators across the globe are suffering problems with their Trent 1000 engines from Rolls Royce. This has led to British Airways wet-leasing Air Belgium’s Airbus A340 for a number of different flights.

However, now another 787 is scheduled to be out of service, British Airways has chosen to substitute it. In fact, the alternatives would be to wet lease an aircraft or cancel the flights. In May Rolls Royce’s Chief Customer Officer of Civil Aerospace, Dominic Horwood, told Simple Flying: “We are clearly working intensely with our customers every day to support the recovery of their fleets.”

British Airways Airbus A321neo London Cairo
A number of airlines have been affected by Trent 1000 problems. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

A British Airways representative told Simple Flying:

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“Like a number of airlines around the world, we are carrying out detailed precautionary inspections on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines which are fitted to our Boeing 787s. To facilitate the engine inspections and any associated maintenance we have had to make some adjustments to our schedule and we’re in touch with affected customers.”

However, the airline also told Business Traveller:

“Customers currently booked into Club World on the affected flights will be rebooked into a Club Europe seat and offered a partial refund. Anyone still wishing to travel on this route in Club World will be permitted to change to the nearest flight operating with this cabin.”

Are you booked to travel to Cairo during this period? What do you make of the British Airways substitution? Let us know in the comments!

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