After three of British Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners were left seriously damaged and inoperable while at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the airline filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago (ORD).
The damage to the three Dreamliners, according to the airline, cost more than $3 million to fix and stranded hundreds of passengers. British Airways’ lawyers allege the airline faced significant additional expenditures as a result of many flights being canceled while the planes were repaired.
The damage occurred on November 30 and December 1 of last year, as the three Dreamliners were taxiing near Chicago O’Hare. The lawsuit claims that foreign object debris, or FOD, was sucked into the engines, causing damage to the inlet cowls and other components.
The aircraft was rendered unworkable when all six engines were severely damaged, and it was forced to be taken out of service for “full pulldowns and inspections” of the engines. Because British Airways did not have a base in Chicago, the airline’s only choice was to cancel multiple flights while the plane was being repaired.
British Airways spent $3.2 million on repairs, which included replacing the damaged inlet pieces.
According to the lawsuit, the City of Chicago is to blame for the damage because the airport is responsible for inspecting runways and taxiways on a regular basis and removing any foreign object debris (FOD) before it can cause harm to an aircraft.
The FOD that damaged the BA Dreamliner engines was blamed on extensive construction activities, including runway resurfacing and development on the expanded Terminal 5.
The City of Chicago was irresponsible in failing to notice and remove the FOD, according to British Airways, and it failed in its duty as an airport certificate holder. FOD is a big problem at airports all around the world, and many airports devote large resources to detecting and removing debris that could cause aircraft damage.
Ground staff are obliged to do regular visual checks by driving up and down taxiways and runways, and some airports even use ground radar and sensors to assist them in detecting FOD.
In addition to the repair costs, British Airways is seeking an undefined amount in damages for the loss of use of the three planes, as well as legal fees.
Last Monday, the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, under case number 1:21-cv-06371. The allegations have yet to receive a response from the city of Chicago.