Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Expanded Trent 1000 inspections set to disrupt 787 operations

Expanded Trent 1000 inspections set to disrupt 787 operations

Rolls-Royce has warned that it needs to carry out more frequent inspections of its Trent 1000 aircraft engines, raising the prospect of disruption for airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and resulting in higher costs for the company.

Rolls-Royce said despite the additional expense of the inspections, it still expects to hit its annual free cashflow target of around £450m by "reprioritising various items of discretionary spend" to account for extra costs from the Trent 1000.

Air New Zealand is making changes to some worldwide flights after being forced to carry out early maintenance checks on its engines.

Rolls-Royce issued a directive that maintenance checks on a specific part of the Trent 1000 engine compressor are to be undertaken every 300 one-way journeys rather than every 2000.

"Our focus is on supporting our customers and doing all we can to minimise any impact on their operations", says Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East.

Shares in Rolls, one of the biggest names in British manufacturing, were down 1.3% by 1251 GMT.

Not all Dreamliners are powered by Rolls-Royce engines and those using General Electric GEnx engines are also unaffected.

The airline has not yet released details of schedule changes but this morning said there would be disruption.

Read: Rolls-Royce faces turbulence over engine issues.

That will lead to more disruption for its customers, with 380 of the engines in question now in service with airlines, with the firm adding that the new approach will not affect Trent 1000 Package B engines and Trent 1000-TEN engines.

"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 recognise that the application of these actions may cause additional disruption to our airline customers". The snag has led to unscheduled shop visits for dozens of Boeing's 787s at carriers including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, costing Rolls-Royce more than £220m in charges past year.

A Virgin spokeswoman said it had been aware of the increased inspections and that the cover it had in place would be sufficient.

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

A total of 380 engines globally are impacted including the nine in the Air New Zealand 787 fleet.

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