British Airways is concerned that its long-haul expansion plans next year could be impacted if it cannot find a replacement for the Boeing 777 written off in January's crash landing at Heathrow.

BA commercial director Robert Boyle says the airline "is looking hard to find a replacement" as soon as possible but acknowledges that the used market for 777s is tight.

As far as the summer of 2008 is concerned, BA believes it can cope with having one less 777 without adjusting its timetable, But Boyle says a small adjustment for the winter 2008-09 schedule is likely.

Early next year BA is scheduled to receive four new 777-200ERs from an earlier order. These were earmarked to support the launch of new long-haul routes starting in summer 2009, but if the airline is unable to replace the aircraft lost in the accident it will not be able to expand as much as it wanted.

According to Flight's ACAS database, BA has 39 777-200ERs with four more on order.