British Airways To Lease Air Belgium A340 For London To Newark Flights This Summer

Last summer British Airways was forced to wet lease an A340 from Air Belgium. Now, the airline is set to lease the aircraft again this summer as the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 issues continue. The aircraft is currently set to be used on the airline’s Newark route.

The aircraft substitution, which may prove unpopular with some passengers, will last from 1st April to the 9th of June. During this period, checks and maintenance on the Trent 1000 engines of the B787 will continue, meaning that some aircraft will not be available for service during this period.

Air Belgium A340 Lease
The Air Belgium A340 Lease will affect London to Newark Flights. Photo: Air Belgium

Four Classes To Two Classes

The reason the substitution may prove unpopular is in part due to the different class structure employed. Currently, the routes being substituted are operated by four class aircraft. That is to say, First, Club World (business), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy). The A340 from Air Belgium only has two classes, economy and premium according to British Airways. (However, Air Belgium advertises that the aircraft has three classes). Not ideal if you’ve spent £6000+ on first class tickets. Additionally, as the aircraft is wet-leased from Air Belgium, the service on board will be significantly different. This is a result of the cabin crew being provided by Air Belgium, not British Airways.

Air Belgium A340 Lease
British Airways has had to ground some B787s for inspections and maintenance. Photo: British Airways

Trent 1000 Issues

British Airways isn’t the only airline to be affected by the issues affecting Trent 1000 engines. Last year we saw Norwegian wet-lease the HiFly A380 for flights between London and New York. Additionally, we saw LOT Polish Airlines passengers have had to endure a EuroAtlantic B767 as a result. British Airways was even using the Air Belgium A340 for this very reason last year. It was first used on the London to Cairo route, before being moved across to the London to Abu Dhabi route later in the year.

Why Wet Lease?

Although the aircraft change will not be the most popular news, it is better than the alternative. That would entail cancelling the flights altogether. With the lease, British Airways can keep the route operational. This is both better for the airline in terms of their PR, and for passengers, as they don’t have to rebook their flight.

Air Belgium A340 Lease
the Air Belgium A340 Lease aircraft have lie flat business class. Photo: Air Belgium

What If I’m Booked On An Air Belgium Flight?

If you have been affected by the aircraft swap, British Airways will be contacting you to let you know your options. For most people, this will include allowing passengers to transfer onto a different British Airways flight. Simple Flying contacted British Airways who told us:

We’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers travel as planned, in light of continuing issues with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines which are affecting many airlines around the world. In order to fly as many customers as possible on their original dates of travel, we have leased an aircraft from Air Belgium. We are in touch with customers who are affected to offer them a range of options if they don’t wish to continue with their booking, including changing to a British Airways operated flight on the same date or as close to the original date of travel as possible. ​

Have you been affected by the Air Belgium wet-lease? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below! (Featured Image: Air Belgium)