Virgin Atlantic's fleet of Boeing 787s were returned to service on 16 May following 2.5 years of Trent 1000 engine issues which, in October 2017, forced the first grounding of one of the airline's Boeing 787s.
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 registered G-VOOH on takeoff from London's Heathrow Airport. Photo by Ervin Eslami | AeroNewsX
Virgin Atlantic has spent a lot of money as a result of the grounding. The Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance at Virgin Atlantic, Phil Wardlaw, says the company completed a total of 133 engine changes on the 787 since the first in 2015. In comparison, the airline performed 10 times less engine changes on the Airbus A330 fleet during the same timeframe.
On 16 May, Virgin Atlantic's G-VOOH, returned to service on a reactivation check flight after having been grounded for 4 months. This meant that the entire 17-strong fleet of Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787s had returned to service.
In 2018, Virgin Atlantic had faced serious issues as a result of the grounding, and was required to bring in 4 Airbus A330-200s and return a couple of Airbus A340s back to service, to make up for the lost capacity. The overall costs involved as a result of the aircraft groundings, have no doubt caused major reliability concerns for airlines over Rolls Royce's engines.
Virgin Atlantic took delivery of its first Boeing 787 in October 2014, becoming the first European airline to receive the 787-9.
However, the Trent 1000 issues don't end at Virgin Atlantic. In fact, the faults have been recorded across the globe and as it stands, there are still 24 Boeing 787s grounded worldwide across 10 airlines.