Rolls-Royce pushes back timeline for fixing 787 Trent 1000 issue

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 23, 2019
A file image of a Boeing 787 with a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine. (Rolls-Royce)
A file image of a Boeing 787 with a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine. (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce says the number of Boeing 787s impacted the Trent 1000 engine issue will remain in the double-digits until at least the second quarter of 2020.

The engine maker had previously targeted having fewer than 10 aircraft on the ground (AOG) due to the Trent 1000 engine problem by the end of calendar 2019.

However, it said in a statement on Friday (European time) this would now occur in 2020.

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Rolls-Royce said the delay was due to additional maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) load “resulting from from faster deterioration of the high pressure turbine (HPT) blade on the Trent 1000 TEN”.

Further, the company said it had also taken, since August, a “proactive decision to accelerate intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade replacement for the limited number of Package B and C engines yet to be fitted with the final standard of IPT blade”, which had led to additional engine removals.

“As a result, though we continue to work on further increasing our MRO capacity, these challenges mean that we now expect the return to single-digit level of AOGs on the Trent 1000 to be delayed until Q2 2020,” Rolls-Royce said.

“We deeply regret the additional disruption that this will cause our customers and we continue to work closely with them to minimise the impact on their operations.”

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A file image of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. (Rolls-Royce)
A file image of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East had indicated at the company’s calendar 2019 first half results presentation in August the additional load placed on the company’s MRO facilities had extended some turnaround times and placed the end-of-the-year target at some risk.

“It is possible we’ll get there for the end of the year, but it’s also very possible that the polluting effect of the TEN will cause that to delay a bit longer,” East said.

“And that, unfortunately, is where we are. I’m still pleased with the progress we’re making on managing and fixing all these issues, but the reality is that we’ve still got a lot of hard work to do before it’s out of the way.”

A slide on the Trent 100 engine issue from Rolls-Royce 2019 half year results. (Rolls-Royce)
A slide on the Trent 100 engine issue from Rolls-Royce 2019 half year results. (Rolls-Royce)

In April 2018, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that limited extended operations for Boeing 787s with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines due to some durability issues on the intermediate pressure compressor (IPC) rotor blade for Trent 1000 Package C engines.

In terms of a long-term fix to the problem, Rolls-Royce has redesigned IPC rotor blade for Trent 1000 Package C and Trent 1000 TEN engines.

Also, Rolls-Royce has said previously regulators recently changed a hard life limit on a compressor drum on the Trent 1000 TEN engines to an inspection regime, which had also helped reduce the disruption to airlines.

Air New Zealand’s five 787-9 aircraft with the Trent 1000 Package C engines were knocked out of service by the blade issues, then eight with replacement Trent 1000 TEN engines required inspections sooner than expected earlier in 2019.

Singapore Airlines and its low-cost carrier (LCC) unit Scoot, among other airlines, have also faced disruptions due to the problem.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 787-10s use Rolls-Royce engines. (Keith Anderson)
Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to operate the Boeing 787-10 to Australia when it deployed the next generation widebody on the Perth-Singapore route in May 2018. (Keith Anderson)

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5 Comments

  • Tony

    says:

    No surprise ANZ didn’t go with RR when they ordered their 787-10’s. A relationship going back over 38 years.

  • Keith

    says:

    More orientated to coffee shops (13 on site). Pity there’s not the same emphasis to quality. If every lost it’s heritage R-R has. Perhaps a merger with one of its American would be best and bring their technology up to scratch.

    • Barry Hardy

      says:

      Seems you dont live in real world, maybe same should need said to GE and McDonald with the 10 then??

  • R-R used to be THE best quality, is there an enquiry into why these failures are happening now? Also B737Max and now the collapse of Thomas Cook? These are all massive management failures. Too much trust in overpaid execs. Not enough spent on R&D?

  • Alpha141

    says:

    I think this is a classic case of margins of a business profit being run very thin. This is a general comment regarding the world but most here would know the Airline industry is in the tougher area from a business perspective related to that perception. Thus, driving down the expenditure on development etc. Its the economics at present in a tough markets. So, failures are beginning to creep into things where in the past there has been stability.

    If you look at things like Thomas Cook and the other failures in that space. Its the leisure market is very lean also on top. Especially in Europe. Holidays are discretionary spends and when people pull back the businesses running very thin can’t really take much of a hit. I saw (very rough investigations) Thomas Cook was grossing $9B US or Pounds but only making or loosing $250m a year plus with a large debt they were trying to refinance. And, no one wanted to refinance them. Any reduction in market spending really would be bad and the economics at present suggest recession. People don’t have the money to afford holidays. Which translates to things like FAA short cuts, aggressive production targets to maintain profitability in a shrinking market. It is a symptom of something in the economy as a whole.

    There are pretty massive projections for future air frame requirements which will all need engines. But, we also know the price paid vs book prices are 2 different things. The main airline manufactures are the originator of the projections for their own business space also.

    So, to me its just a sign things at present. Business it tough. Airlines and airliners are at the tougher end of things. Just some variable worth considering at present.
    Cheers all

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