The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has rejected claims that the Boeing 777 crash-landing at Heathrow last week was the result of engine failure, pointing instead to a failure to produce the required thrust for landing.
The Boeing 777 model has been treated with scepticism by airlines since the event, after it was revealed that British Airways’ near-fatal episode at Heathrow was not the first serious failure known to the aircraft.
It was claimed that the 777 has had six engine failures logged by American investigators, prompting concerns that the BA Heathrow crash-landing could be a seventh – and a sign of the aircraft’s unreliability. But an AAIB report today concluded: "Whilst the aircraft was stabilised on an ILS approach with the autopilot engaged, the autothrust system commanded an increase in thrust from both engines. The engines both initially responded but after about three seconds the thrust of the right engine reduced.
"Some eight seconds later the thrust reduced on the left engine to a similar level. The engines did not shut down and both engines continued to produce thrust at an engine speed above flight idle, but less than the commanded thrust."
Previous faults on Boeing 777 flights have all seen a single engine fail, including a previous problem on a Malaysian-registered 777 in 2005, where a loss of thrust was discovered mid-flight, but luckily returned before landing.