10-Nov-2010 12:44 PM

Singapore Airlines changes engines on three A380s; no drop-off in A380 passengers

Singapore Airlines stated it would change the engines on three of its A380 aircraft following an engine blowout last week on a Qantas flight (Reuters/Dow Jones/Bloomberg/AAP/Associated Press, 10-Nov-2010). The carrier stated the Rolls-Royce engines on the three aircraft in Sydney, Melbourne and London, will be fitted with a new engine although the model - Rolls Royce Trent 900 - will remain the same with a minor variation. Airbus will assist the carrier. CEO Chew Choon Seng stated all three aircraft landed in Singapore on 10-Nov-2010 and are expected to be out of service for one to two days. The carrier described the engine change as "precautionary, as advised by Rolls-Royce", after finding “slight” oil staining in areas of the engines. SIA has no plans to cancel flights because of the engine swaps. It added it has no plans to cancel remaining orders for a further eight A380s (AFP, 10-Nov-2010). Rolls-Royce stated it had nothing to add to SIA’s comments.

  • Lufthansa stated it has replaced an engine in one A380, also as a “precautionary measure”, which “had nothing to do with what happened at Qantas”. The aircraft is now back in service and schedules were not affected by the engine change. The carrier added it is has not found any oil leaks in its A380 engines. Lufthansa is the only other carrier to operate A380s powered with Trent 900 engines at present. CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber stated it has no plans to change engine providers for its A380s, adding the A380 is “as secure as any other aircraft” (Reuters, 11-Nov-2010). The carrier also stated that it has not recorded a spike in cancellations on A380 services since the Qantas incident last week (AAP, 11-Nov-2010).
  • Qantas stated it will not seek damages from Rolls-Royce over the issue at present (AAP, 11-Nov-2010).
  • European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) stated it will order immediate and thorough solutions if any safety risks are found in Qantas’ A380 engines (Sky News, 10-Nov-2010). EASA has twice this year advised carriers to carry out additional inspections or repairs of the Trent 900 engines powering A380s to deal with potential problems.
  • EADS CEO Tom Enders stated there is no reason to doubt the safety of A380 aircraft and he is confident Rolls-Royce will ensure there are no repeat issues with the Trent 900 engines.
  • Malaysia Airlines CEO Azmil Zahruddin stated it has no plans to cancel its order for six A380s for now, as it is too early to speculate on the actual cause of the engine failure. He added MAS will monitor the situation “very closely”. MAS expects to take delivery of its first A380 in 1H2012, with the aircraft to be powered by Trent 900 engines.
  • Thai Airways also stated it has not changed its order for six A380s powered by Trent 900 engines, but it is awaiting a technical report from the Qantas incident. The six aircraft are to be delivered in 2012 and 2013.
  • Emirates President Tim Clark called on Rolls-Royce to be “a little bit more communicative about what’s actually going on” with the Trent 900 engine inspections (The Financial Times, 10-Nov-2010). Mr Clark stated there have been no signs of demand faltering on its A380 services since the Qantas incident, but is it “vitally important” the issue be resolved as soon as possible so the A380 does not become a “bete noire”. Emirates uses engines from General Electric Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney JV, Engine Alliance, to power its A380s. However, the carrier stated the general public would not know the difference between Rolls-Royce and other engines.

Singapore Airlines: “The Trent engine on the A380 has been reliable so far. Since it was inducted in October 2007, it's been three years now, it has done 10,000 flights, flown for 100,000 hours and carried 4 million passengers. We have replacement engines available. We have a TotalCare package with Rolls Royce. It's like leasing a car, they are responsible for the maintenance,” Chew Choon Seng, CEO. Source: Dow Jones, 10-Nov-2010.

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