19-Nov-2010 11:25 AM

Qantas states up to 40 Trent 900 engines may have to be replaced worldwide

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated up 40 Trent 900 engines used to power A380s may need to be replaced worldwide, representing approximately half of the engines in service at present (Associated Press/AAP/AFP/Bloomberg/Reuters/Dow Jones, 18-Nov-2010). As part of this, Qantas may need to replace a further 14 of its own engines, with inspections continuing. The carrier has already replaced three Trent 900 engines and expects to know in two days exactly how many more will need to be replaced, as Rolls-Royce is still working through the replacement criteria (The Australian, 19-Nov-2010). Mr Joyce confirmed plans to replace some existing Trent 900s with new engines in its A380s in production, but added this would not impact the delivery of its two new A380s in Dec-2010. The CEO stated he could not predict when the A380s will return to service. Capacity has been reduced by 4-5% with the grounding of the A380 fleet. Airbus and Rolls-Royce declined to comment on Mr Joyce’s statement. Rolls-Royce stated “the company is fully focused on assisting our customers in getting their A380 fleet operational as soon as possible”.

  • Qantas plans to seek compensation from Rolls-Royce once all A380s are returned to service. Mr Joyce stated Rolls had advised Qantas of the modification on later Trent 900s, but had not indicated the modification was “significant”. The modifications would have been made to Qantas’ A380 engines when they were returned to the Rolls-Royce workshop for routine maintenance and inspection.
  • Mr Joyce also stated the damages to the A380 on the 04-Nov-2010 incident are fixable, but it could be a lengthy process and it is not yet known how much it will cost. The pilots of the aircraft are now compiling a report on the extent of the damage, suggesting systems unconnected with the left wing have also been affected.
  • The CEO also dismissed reports Qantas will increase international fares as a result of the incident.
  • Airbus advised customers that three “high energy” turbine fragments flew out of Qantas Trent 900 engine when it exploded in the 04-Nov-2010 incident, with two of these severing cables in the wing (Reuters, 18-Nov-2010). Pilots has issues shutting down the engine as a result.
  • Lufthansa confirmed it will replace one more engine after already exchanging one last week as a “precautionary measure” (AFP/Bloomberg, 18-Nov-2010). The engine to be replaced was found to have a component of the older Trent 900 model, the same component linked to the Qantas incident. It stated the remaining 15 engines in its A380 fleet include the new modifications. It added the engine to be replaced “showed no oil leak”. The carrier operates a fleet of four A380s.
  • Singapore Airlines stated it would replace Trent 900 engines if needed (Dow Jones, 18-Nov-2010). It added it is continuing to work with Rolls-Royce and Airbus and is in compliance with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) directives on the engines. The carrier stated inspections of its Trent 900s have so far revealed no faults.

Qantas: “The disruptions we're experiencing because we don't have a number of aircraft in the fleet, that is something that once this is all resolved we will have to talk to Rolls about as a consequence. But we are not even thinking about that yet. We are just thinking about getting the aircraft back into the air. If this [later modifications to the Trent 900s] was significant, and was known to be significant, we would have liked to have known about that. 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. If this incident hadn't occurred, eventually all these engines would have had this modification. Now because it is an indicator, we are not taking any risks,” Alan Joyce, CEO. Source: Associated Press, 18-Nov-2010.

Singapore Airlines: “We remain in very close contact with Rolls-Royce and Airbus, and all checks that we have carried out to date have been in full compliance with their recommendations and instructions,” Spokesperson. Source: Reuters, 18-Nov-2010.

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