Originally created 03/15/97

British Airways suspends new 777s from Atlantic duty

LONDON (AP) - British Airways has stopped using three new long-range Boeing 777 aircraft on flights across the Atlantic because of an engine problem, the airline said Friday.

Engineers had found metal fragments indicating excessive wear in a bearing. The airline expects repairs to be made this month.

Seattle-based Boeing deferred questions to General Electric, the engine-maker. Rick Kennedy, a GE spokesman in Cincinnati, said the problem was in a bearing in an accessory gearbox that connects to an auxiliary electrical system.

British Airways took delivery of three extended-range versions - designated as IGW or "increased gross weight" models - of the twin-engine jets in February. They have been pulled from Atlantic routes because there would be nowhere in case of trouble. They remain in use on European and Middle Eastern flights.