British Airways “unluckiest” A350 XWB: 4 incidents in 3 months?

Despite the fact that British Airways is just starting to add Airbus A350 XWBs to its fleet, one of the carrier’s A350-1000 can already claim the title of being the “unluckiest” aircraft. While the three-months-old wide-body already has two incidents under its belt officially, the suspicion is that in February alone it could have suffered two more problems. 

On February 19, 2020, a stuck airplane temporarily disturbed operations at London Heathrow airport, before being towed from the taxiway. While currently there are no official reports on which aircraft it was, suggestions circulating on social media point to a British Airways flight incoming from Tel Aviv, Israel, which might have suffered a hydraulic fluid spill. 

On that day, British Airways Flight BA162 from Tel Aviv (TLV) to London (LHR) was operated with the Airbus A350-1000, registration number G-XWBD, data indicates. AeroTime has reached out to British Airways for clarification. 

The operational history of this particular A350XWB began just recently, as it was delivered to the airline in December 2019. Nevertheless, if the reports are correct, this is already the fourth incident in which it was involved. 

Earlier in February 2020, the Aviation Herald reported another incident involving the G-XWBD. On February 12, British Airways A350-1000 performing flight BA93 from Heathrow to Toronto (Canada), was descending towards the destination airport when the crew reported a hydraulic failure. According to the publication, following the landing the aircraft’s brakes were found to be hot and hydraulic fluid was leaking. Subsequently, the aircraft spent two days in Toronto, before taking off for the UK on February 14. 

The prior month, the aircraft also had a problem while carrying passengers on the London-Tel Aviv route. On January 19, operating flight BA163 from London Heathrow, the A350-1000 suffered a hard landing in Tel Aviv (TLV). On ground checks reportedly revealed damage to the aircraft.

The first time G-XWBD had to be repaired was when the aircraft was still in the Airbus facility, being prepared for delivery to British Airways. While details of the incident have not been disclosed, it is known that the A350-1000’s surface was damaged by a piece of equipment surrounding it in a paint shop. “Airbus has assured us that the aircraft will be fully repaired and delivered shortly,” a spokesman for BA told AeroTime in November 2019.

British Airways has an order for 18 A350-1000s. Having taken the first delivery in July 2019, the carrier has already received five aircraft as of February 2020. The remaining aircraft, as per the initial plan, are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2022 and will replace its Boeing 747-400s. BA has 34 Boeing 747s, the last of which is expected to leave the fleet by 2024. 


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