Qantas confirms extent of Trent 900 issue

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 18, 2010
VH-OQA's now removed number 2 engine. (ATSB)

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has confirmed to media the accuracy of earlier reports that as many as 40 of the 80 Trent 900 engines delivered so far on Airbus A380s are affected by the oil leak issue which led to the QF32 uncontained failure, and that they may need to be replaced.

“We’ve been talking to Airbus and Rolls-Royce and we understand that the number is around 40,” Joyce confirmed on Thursday.

“Rolls-Royce are still working through the criteria for which engines need to be changed,” Joyce said. “We’re hoping to understand precisely which engines need to be replaced and therefore we can have a firm timeline for when they will be back in the air, but we are still a few days away from that.”

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Joyce said Qantas is seeking clarification on upgrades Rolls-Royce made to the Trent 900 build standard.

“If this was significant, and was known to be significant, we would have liked to have known about that,” he said. “It doesn’t look like it is a significant modification, but it is a modification that has an impact on how the engines are performing and it is a modification that indicates whether you are going to have a problem or not with the engine.”

Rolls-Royce maintains Qantas’s Trent 900s under its ‘Total Care’ ‘power-by-the-hour’ arrangement.

Meanwhile, the ATSB says the number 2 engine on the A380 which was operating QF32 and suffered the uncontained failure, VH-OQA, has been removed and is now being progressively dismantled in a Singaporean engine workshop. The ATSB says the low pressure turbine module has been removed to allow access to the damaged intermediate pressure turbine area for examination. It says the disassembly and examination of the remainder of the engine should be completed by the end of this week.

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Finally, the extent of the airframe damage to VH-OQA has evidently been leaked to crikey.com.au blogger Ben Sandilands here.

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