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readytotaxi
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Posts: 8560
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:09 am

Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Thu Dec 16, 2021 5:10 pm

I am trying to understand the reason for a long flight delay today, have no great understanding of ops so thought I would ask here.

BA253 LHR-NAS was due to depart 0920, it left at 1650. If the reason was faulty aircraft surely there is a spare at home base. If it were crew related again there should be a pool available.
https://www.flightradar24.com/BAW253M/2a35ac41
Must be very frustrating for passengers.
 
gloom
Posts: 617
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Thu Dec 16, 2021 10:19 pm

There is a couple of things that could go really wrong and make up for such a long wait time.

First original reason, which usually would be technical. You need to diagnose, check the exact element, and hope it would be fixed just by simple replace of element. It's not the case sometimes. It's quite easy to lose hour or two just for that, since sometimes it looks fixing is better than plane replacing (see below).
Once you can't fix plane in place, you could replace (switch) the plane. Even if you have one (you usually have at home base), you need to unload the one that will not fly. Then bring in another one, and fill it with everything it needs, fuel, food and snacks, luggage and cargo. It could take quite a time for widebody.
And then of course if you have a reasonable delay, you can run out of work day for a crew on a flight. It's then trying to get someone from reserve, or taking crew from other flight. Whatever is faster. But sometimes faster is not fast. Especially when all above pop up.

So, actually having a plane departing late by more than 3-4 hours is quite rare. But happens on a bad day. If you hit all three above, there's nothing possible, and you end up few hours late. As they say, shit happens.

Cheers,
Adam
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:32 pm

Having reserve crew on airport standby isn't that common. Typically they'll be on something like 2½ standby. Say you've been troubleshooting and are now 2 hours late. The aircraft needs to be changed and it now looks like the crew will run out of duty time. Crew ops calls the reserve crew. They report 2½ hours later. You are now 4½ hours late. Once they report, the crew has an hour to prep. You are now 5½ hours late.

Things can pile up.
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:44 am

gloom wrote:

First original reason, which usually would be technical. You need to diagnose, check the exact element, and hope it would be fixed just by simple replace of element. It's not the case sometimes. It's quite easy to lose hour or two just for that, since sometimes it looks fixing is better than plane replacing (see below)


We, in line maintenance, tend to be an optimistic bunch, with an overinflated sense of our technical prowess, and a nagging habit of neglecting to update ops as to what’s going on. As such, we’re prone to “20 more minutes and we’ll be good” a flight right into a long delay or cancellation.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:54 am

fr8mech wrote:
gloom wrote:

First original reason, which usually would be technical. You need to diagnose, check the exact element, and hope it would be fixed just by simple replace of element. It's not the case sometimes. It's quite easy to lose hour or two just for that, since sometimes it looks fixing is better than plane replacing (see below)


We, in line maintenance, tend to be an optimistic bunch, with an overinflated sense of our technical prowess, and a nagging habit of neglecting to update ops as to what’s going on. As such, we’re prone to “20 more minutes and we’ll be good” a flight right into a long delay or cancellation.


That’s true everywhere in aviation—military, airline, corporate, it’s the same. I came out a C-5 in PHNL, maintenance super says, “what are you guys doing here?” Turns out MainTrol told CP, we’ll be ready the time the crew gets here. 4 hours late. I sent a crew, over my objections to the DFO, to pick up a plane at a service center. “they say it’ll be ready when they get there”. Yup, a day after they get there. DL flight JFK-NRT, B747 at the gate has ladders and open cowls. Six hours later the inbound from TLV is the replacement while our kite was towed away.
 
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817Dreamliiner
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Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Fri Dec 17, 2021 8:29 am

readytotaxi wrote:
I am trying to understand the reason for a long flight delay today, have no great understanding of ops so thought I would ask here.

BA253 LHR-NAS was due to depart 0920, it left at 1650. If the reason was faulty aircraft surely there is a spare at home base. If it were crew related again there should be a pool available.
https://www.flightradar24.com/BAW253M/2a35ac41
Must be very frustrating for passengers.

Swapping aircraft is not as simple as mentioned in the posts above. Aircraft availability is the key. The spares may be in maintenance (both scheduled and unscheduled) or they will have to wait for one to come back. This is probably what happened in this instance and the aircraft operating the route now was the one swapped in to replace another.
 
N1120A
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Fri Dec 17, 2021 5:04 pm

Remember, BA isn't exactly flush with widebodies after the 747 retirement.
 
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readytotaxi
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:09 am

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Sat Dec 18, 2021 10:33 am

Thanks for the very informative replys.
 
QF93
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:44 am

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Tue Dec 21, 2021 4:09 pm

Out of curiosity is BA (or VS) experiencing any crew shortages at the moment given the high CoVid infection rates in the U.K.? Or is the reduced winter flying schedule mitigating the impact of increased crew sickness?

I read in the press that the U.K. rail industry is facing increased cancellations as a result of staff sickness at the moment.
 
AndrewJM70
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Long delayed departure LHR-NAS

Sat Dec 25, 2021 1:27 pm

Also worth noting that even at base back-up aircraft are not in over-plentiful supply. There might be one or two LH aircraft at any one time but if those go, then ops will have to do a bit of juggling. Perhaps in this case an arriving aircraft landing in early afternoon may have had some downtime which could then be used as the substitute. If the original aircraft could be repaired, then it could be used later (for the substitute aircraft’s original schedule), or by that time one of the back-up aircraft might have returned.

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