Rolls-Royce To Increase Inspections On Some 787 Engines

Rolls-Royce engine

On Friday Rolls said it had chose to increase the number of inspections after the implications of another problem, this time with the compressor, became clear. If a durability issue is found, the blade will be replaced.

The company will shift spending priorities to mitigate the incremental cash costs, it said, adding that guidance for free cash flow remains unchanged. The news comes after the company recently warned that the cost for fixing the issues with its Trent 1000 and Trent 900 engines would broadly double from the total cash cost in 2017 of £170 million and reach a peak this year. Even before today's guidance the company had said a re-design of problem parts for the 787 wouldn't be fully incorporated in the fleet until 2022.

Problems with turbine blades on the engines wearing out sooner than expected have hampered a restructuring programme at Rolls prompted by declining older engine programmes and plunging demand for oil equipment.

This issue does not affect current production 787s, the Trent 1000 Package B, Trent 1000 TEN or GEnx-1B engines. Rolls-Royce advises 380 engines globally are impacted by the directive, including nine in the Air New Zealand 787 fleet.

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East said "We sincerely regret the disruption this will cause to our customers..." This effectively curtails operations over water or remote areas.

The affected 787's ETOPS is expected to be reduced from the certified 330 minutes flight time to the nearest airport to about 140 minutes, requiring the aircraft to fly closer to diversionary airports than straight to its destination.

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The need to inspect and fix Trent 1000 engines has led to an industry-wide shortage.

"It's disappointing and frustrating that our new aircraft don't work the way they are supposed to", spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nilsen said, adding that it had cancelled a flight from Paris to NY next week as a result.

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is a provider of an integrated power and propulsion solutions.

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

Air New Zealand is one of the airlines affected by the problem, with nine of the Package C engines, said it expected there would be some impact on its worldwide schedule as a result of the additional checks.