BA forced to block off economy seats at the back of A320neo aircraft to counter ‘potentially unsafe’ balance issue that affects over 50 carriers around the world
- All airlines using the plane have been slapped with a safety directive by EASA
- EasyJet has 31 neo’s but has solved the issue by changing how it loads them
- BA said: ‘We work closely with regulators to ensure the safety of our fleet’
British Airways has been forced to block off seats on some short-haul flights over weight-related safety concerns, it has been claimed.
The airline has reportedly been forced to seal off one or two economy rows at the rear of flights using Airbus A320neo aircraft.
Insiders say the plane has too many economy seats in the rear, leading to fears the aircraft may become unbalanced during certain manoeuvres.
BA has reportedly been forced to seal off one or two economy rows at the rear of flights using Airbus A320neo aircraft
One passenger on a recent flight to Malaga said that the captain told passengers three times to return to their original seat due to ‘plane weight issues’.
All airlines using the plane have now been slapped with a safety directive by the flight regulator, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Computer testing has discovered the Airbus A320neo – which is used for short-haul flights across the world – may have problems in certain scenarios such as aborted landings, when the nose needs to be raised quickly.
The EASA said it was a ‘potential unsafe condition’.
A directive added: ‘This condition, although never encountered during operations, if not corrected, could lead to excessive pitch altitude, possibly resulting in increased flight crew workload.’
Budget airline EasyJet says it has solved the issue by changing how it loads luggage onto the plane instead of blocking seats
This has prompted BA to block off seats at the back of the plane to balance the weight, according to Rob Burgess of the Head for Points website, which helps travellers make the most of their air miles.
He says the issue depends on how many First Class style Club Europe seats are taken at the front of the aircraft.
His blog says: ‘In order to address this, it appears that BA is often having to block the last one or two rows of the aircraft.
‘This is dependent on the number of rows of Club Europe and other factors such as cargo and baggage loading.
‘As well as not allowing passengers to select seats in those rows, cabin crew will also announce that passengers may not move to them after take-off.’
A British Airways spokeswoman said: ‘Like all airlines around the world, we work closely with regulators to ensure the safety of our fleet and fully comply with all recommendations.’
Airbus said different operators used different solutions depending on individual airline cabin layouts and operations.
A spokesman said: ‘We are working with our A320neo operators to identify the best solutions for seamless operations.’
More than 50 airlines around the world use the Airbus plane, and face the same issue.
Budget airline EasyJet has 31 of the aircraft in its fleet.
It says it has solved the issue by changing how it loads luggage onto the plane instead of blocking seats.
A spokeswoman said: ‘EasyJet can confirm that, along with all other European operators of the Airbus A320neo, it has received updated guidance from EASA to revise the aircraft flight manuals.
‘EasyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers’ and relevant authorities guidelines and as such we have updated our procedures in line with the guidance provided.’