British Airways 777 Which Caught Fire In Las Vegas Will Fly Again

Filed Under: British Airways

Back in September, a British Airways 777 flying from Las Vegas to London Gatwick caught on fire while it was taking off. The footage of the incident was dramatic, with huge flames erupting from the engine and even engulfing the fuselage of the plane.

Fortunately everyone got out alive, and there were just some minor injuries (mostly from the evacuation process). That’s quite incredible, when you see the extent of damage there was to the plane.


At the time, most assumed the plane would be written off and never fly again, given the extent of the damage to the fuselage.

After the plane has been sitting on the ground at Las Vegas McCarran Airport for a few months (which has cost $375 per day to park — that doesn’t strike me as much at all), it has been decided that the plane will be repaired and returned to service.

Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

A representative of the London-based airline said Wednesday that crews would be dispatched to McCarran and that work would begin “shortly” to repair the aircraft’s hull to make it airworthy.

Noting that “safety is always British Airways’ top priority,” a company spokeswoman said in an email, “The airframe was inspected by a team of highly experienced engineers from Boeing who concluded that the damage was limited and suitable for repair.

“A team from Boeing will carry out the repair work, which will be certified to the same high standards as if the aircraft was brand new,” she said.

She did not give a timetable for repairs or when the plane would be flown, but the work is expected to begin next month.

The announcement of this repair comes around the same time that Delta’s CEO said the airline signed a letter of intent to buy a 777 for $7.7 million (after his previously controversial statements about there be using used 777s on the market for $10 million).

Hmmm, I wonder where Delta is finding such a good deal on a used 777? 😉

Bottom line

I’m quite surprised British Airways is repairing this one rather than writing it off. Does anyone know of an instance where a plane damaged to this extent returned to service?

Regardless, I trust that if they do repair it, they’ll have very high standards and it will be “good as new,” so there should be no qualms with flying it. British Airways does have one of the very best safety records out there, after all. My guess is some passengers would be uneasy if they knew they were flying the plane involved in that incident, though. But I guess what people don’t know can’t hurt them. 😉

  1. I always google the tail number before I get on a plane, partially to help record it in my history and partially out of curiosity about the age of the plane, etc.

    Then, one day, a NTSB report popped up… It was one of the Southwest planes that had its roof go partial-sunroof midflight. Amused, I shared this data with a flight attendant once boarded. She refused to believe that the plane we were on was actually that one that had this incident… so she went to confirm this with the captain. She seemed rather uneasy about the result of that chat, but didn’t discuss with me.

    But, of course they would repair and return that one to the sky! This one… I’m not so sure of.

  2. VH-OQA (A380 engine disintegration) and VH-OJU (I think – 744 overrun at BKK) both suffered significant damage and were both repaired at considerable cost. However Qantas has a strong incentive not to write off an airframe so it can keep its “Rain Man” marketing alive of never having had any aircraft write offs in its operating history.

  3. @ Alex, just a slight correction there: the aircraft involved in the BKK overrun was actually VH-OJH. It became known within the airline as “Oh Jesus Hell”.

  4. Probably not as bad as you think. I am sure there was a cost-benefit analysis done on the plane. I wonder who will ultimately pay for it the airline or get insurance reimbursement? I had a classmate in the MBA program that I was in was a Structural Engineer for USAirways/American that would undertake just this sort of thing. As long as the air frame is intact they can repair. Might look worse than it is. If they are getting $7.7M for a used one on the market it is highly unlikely that the repair cost would even be 20% of that. Heck, just look at cars, there are millions of them running around that have been repaired from proportionally worse shape.

  5. Before “The Grammar Police” gets here, I’ll point out that the plane didn’t SET on fire, it CAUGHT fire (unless it was suicidal or something).

  6. @ Arcanum — Good catch, thanks! Caught that mistake pretty quickly and updated the title, but forgot to update the body of the post. Thanks!

  7. @Arcanum – Funniest post of the day.

    Long live the B777 – between this aircraft and QR’s which sustained damage during the MIA runway excursion but flew on to DOH without incident, they sure are a hardy plane.

  8. The Dynamic Airways 767 that caught fire at FLL is still sitting there with no obvious signs of activity other than the name has been painted over… Wonder what will become of that plane.

  9. I don’t think it’s worth the few million dollars to take a chance:

    Japan flight 123

    China flight 611

    Maybe the Russian jet in Egypt

    Damn thing’s insured anyway.

  10. “British Airways does have one of the very best safety records out there.”

    Except if this B772 was written off BA would match MH in having 2 hull loss incidents, that might factor in a bit.

  11. The Emirates 340 that suffered a major hull puncture in Melbourne was repaired at a very expensive price to avoid the airline from taking a hull loss on their safety rating

  12. Arcanum, the incorrect use of ‘set’ over ‘caught’ is nothing to do with grammar: grammar is all about punctuation marks and word forms. This type of error is more likely to be of interest to the Semantics Police.

    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist it!

  13. @Sgt. Richard: Ah, but “The Grammar Police” is actually the name of another commenter, not a descriptive term, hence the capitalization.

    I guess this makes me The Pedantic Police!

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