Rolls-Royce warns of higher costs after engine trouble

Eloise Marshall
April 14, 2018

Britain's Rolls-Royce said on Friday it would step up the number of inspections it carries out on the Trent 1000 engines, leading to additional disruption for customers and higher costs.

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 global schedule as a result of the additional checks.

In its annual result last month Rolls-Royce flagged up an expected £300m price-tag for repairing cracking and corrosion in the turbine blades of the Trent 1000 jet, an issue first identified two years ago. Its civil aerospace business is engaged in the development, manufacture, marketing and sales of commercial aero engines and aftermarket services. The time limit would drop as low as 140 minutes, compared with the current window of 330 minutes, a source familiar with the plans said.

Boeing said that about 25% of the Dreamliners flying were powered by the engine and it was deploying support teams to help to manage service disruptions.

The engineering giant claimed that its cash flow for 2018 would be unaffected at around £450m, as it would cut non-essential spending on travel, IT upgrades and other costs to offset the financial impact.

It adds that it will work with Boeing and the 787 customers affected in an effort to reduce disruption.

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The need to inspect and fix Trent 1000 engines has led to an industry-wide shortage. We sincerely regret the disruption this will cause to our customers and our team of technical experts and service engineers is working around the clock to ensure we return them to full service as soon as possible.

This check was already required prior to the engine reaching a flying threshold of 2000 cycles (one way journeys). The snag has led to unscheduled shop visits for dozens of Boeing's 787s at carriers including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, costing Rolls-Royce more than £220m in charges a year ago.

Trent 1000 Package C engines that have operated fewer than 300 cycles are unaffected by this directive.

It stresses that neither the Trent 1000 TEN powerplant nor the Package B version of the engine will be affected by the new inspections.

In March, Rolls said the cash hit from the problem should peak at £340mn in 2018 before falling in 2019.

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