Where Is British Airways Storing Grounded Long Haul Aircraft?

Earlier this week we touched on where British Airways was storing its Airbus A320 family fleet. However, where is the airline storing its grounded long-haul aircraft? Simple Flying crunched the numbers so that you don’t have to!

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
69 British Airways aircraft have not flown in the past two days. Photo: Getty

How many aircraft have been grounded?

We spend all afternoon trawling through data from FlightRadar24.com so that you don’t have to. We defined any aircraft that had not flown today or yesterday as grounded, as it would’ve remained on the ground at a single airport for the whole of yesterday. Additionally, flights in the future were not taken into account, as they could be canceled.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
All in all, we found that just over half of British Airways’ fleet hadn’t flown today or yesterday. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

Out of a fleet of 135 long-haul aircraft (excluding the airline’s Airbus A318), 69 had not flown either today or yesterday. This meant that 66 aircraft had flown each day. However, not all of the aircraft in the grounded category have flown recently.

When were aircraft grounded?

It’s a little bit tricky to say whether aircraft that flew on Tuesday are grounded or just taking a scheduled break, however, for the purposes of this article we decided to include them. However, one aircraft has been grounded since at least February. One Boeing 787 has been grounded since last September, although this is clearly unrelated to the ongoing crisis.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
This graph shows how many aircraft were left flying on each date. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

By the 14th of March, only five of British Airways’ long haul aircraft had been grounded. This consisted of the aforementioned Boeing 787, an Airbus A380 down for maintenance, a Boeing 747, and two Boeing 777s.

british airways coronavirus
Many short-haul aircraft have also been parked. Photo: Getty

However, from the 15th of March onwards, several aircraft have stopped flying each day. The trend is far more constant than that of the A320 family fleet. By the 24th of March, only 66 of British Airways’ fleet were left flying.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
The proportion of aircraft grounded varies between the different fleets. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

Of course, a different number of each type of aircraft has been flying in the past couple of days. Interestingly, British Airways seems to be favoring its aircraft with higher capacities, over its newer more fuel-efficient aircraft. This could indicate that the airline is facing a huge demand from Brits trying to get home. Let’s break it down by aircraft.

The Airbus A350 fleet

British Airways has a fleet of just five Airbus A350 aircraft. This makes the type the smallest sub-fleet in the mainline British Airways fleet. Surprisingly, it looks like British Airways doesn’t want to utilize the A350 at the moment. In fact, in the past two days, only one Airbus A350 has flown, G-XWBD. G-XWBB hasn’t flown in the past week.

British Airways, Airbus A350, G-XWBE
Only one Airbus A350 is currently flying. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The Airbus A350 had mainly been serving countries that have imposed strict travel bans. As such, Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Bengaluru are no longer possible outside of authorized rescue flights. This leaves only Toronto possible for the time being. The entire A350 fleet remains at Heathrow while not flying.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
Only one Airbus A350 remains flying for the time being. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

The Airbus A380 fleet

A slightly higher portion of the Airbus A380 is still flying. In fact, our research showed that fewer than half of the British Airways giant of skies fleet is grounded. One aircraft is currently in Manila for planned maintenance.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Maintenance
At least one British Airways Airbus A380 is down for maintenance. Photo: British Airways

Four remaining A380s haven’t flown in the past couple of days. Unlike some other long-haul aircraft, the entire Airbus A380 fleet remains at BA’s London Heathrow hub while not flying. Of course, this excludes the aircraft in Manila.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
5 Airbus A380s haven’t flown in the last couple of days. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

The Boeing 747 fleet

Things start to get interesting with the Boeing 747 fleet. This is as a number of the type have been flown away from London Heathrow for storage. SIx of these queens have so far been sent to storage in Cardiff, the home of the British Airways heavy maintenance base.

Two of the airline’s Boeing 747 retro-jets are still flying. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

One aircraft has been sent for retirement at St Athan during March, G-CIVM. The remainder of the fleet is at London Heathrow. 12 of the aircraft have flown in the last two days, compared with 19 grounded. Only two of the three retro-jets have flown, with the Landor jet last flying at the weekend.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
A few Boeing 747s are parked up in Cardiff. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

The Boeing 777 fleet

As the Boeing 777 fleet is split across London Heathrow and London Gatwick, it means the aircraft are slightly more spread out. Over half of the Boeing 777s not flying are at London Heathrow Airport. A few are at London Gatwick and the remainder at Cardiff.

British Airways 777 repatriation
Last week, British Airways sent three Boeing 777s to Havana to repatriate stranded travelers from the cruise ship MS Braemar. Photo: Getty Images

One Boeing 777 is currently in San Francisco. The aircraft flew with a flight number that would typically be associated with a ferry flight, so it is unclear if it will be parked or return to London soon. Six of the aircraft are parked up at Cardiff.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
The Boeing 777 has the greatest variety of parking locations. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

The Boeing 787 fleet

Last but not least is British Airways’s newest Boeing fleet, the Boeing 787. The airline currently operates 12 Boeing 787-8 aircraft and 18 Boeing 787-9. Simple Flying tried flying the British Airways Boeing 787 flight simulator last year.

British Airways, Boeing 787, Portland
The Boeing 787 is British Airways’ youngest Boeing fleet. Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

Two of the airline’s grounded Boeing 787 aircraft are currently at Cardiff, bringing the total number of planes at the Welsh capital to 14. The remainder are at London Heathrow, either flying or parked up. British Airways was due to have its first Boeing 787-10 by now. However, its delivery has been severely delayed.

British Airways, Long Haul, Grounded
Only two Boeing 787s are not currently parked at London Heathrow. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

Have you seen any British Airways aircraft parked up? Let us know when and where in the comments!