Air New Zealand checks on Rolls-Royce engines spark flight changes

Olive Hawkins
April 14, 2018

In an embarrassment for one of the UK's top engineering groups, the company said that more inspections will be needed to tackle problems with its Trent 1000 engines, which are used in Boeing's Dreamliner 787.

New inspections will lead to additional disruption for the 380 Package C engines now in-service with airlines.

Rolls-Royce announced in a statement this morning that it had made a decision to carry out additional engine inspections on its problematic Trent 1000 engines to those it had previously planned.

Even before today's revelations, Rolls-Royce had said a redesign of problem parts for the 787 wouldn't be fully incorporated in the fleet until 2022. It said it would reprioritise its spending to mitigate the incremental cash costs and its guidance for free cash flow remained unchanged.

Boeing said that about 25% of the Dreamliners flying were powered by the engine and it was deploying support teams to help to manage service disruptions.

Airlines operating some of the engines have been ordered by global safety regulators to carry out more regular checks on them, meaning they will be grounded much more frequently for maintenance.

The engine's problems have already forced airlines to change schedules and lease other aircraft but moves to reduce Extended Range Twin Engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) for affected planes will have further consequences for long-haul routes.

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"Our team of technical experts and service engineers is working around the clock to ensure we return them to full service as soon as possible", he said.

"We will be working closely with Boeing and affected airlines to minimise disruption wherever possible". "We recognise that the application of these actions may cause additional disruption to our airline customers".

British Airways, Japan's ANA, Air New Zealand and Thai Airways, which also use Trent 1000 engines, were not available for immediate comment.

Scoot, a budget carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, said it expected some impact on operations.

An existing EASA Airworthiness Directive for the Package C engine requires inspections of an intermediate pressure compressor blade at certain flight cycles.

In March, Rolls said the cash hit from the problem should peak at £340mn in 2018 before falling in 2019.

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