Air New Zealand Cancels Dozens Of Flights Due To Engine Troubles

New Zealand national carrier Air New Zealand has had to cancel dozens of flights to Australia due to engine problems. Travel agents are now expecting to be inundated with calls after the country’s biggest airline canceled flights over the busy Christmas and New Year Holiday season because of maintenance issues with some Rolls-Royce engines.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZD NZ175 AKL->PER dep AKL
Trent 1000 issues cause Air New Zealand to cancel flights. Photo: Xpinger via Flickr

The fights canceled include Air New Zealand’s twice-weekly flight from Christchurch to Perth and dozens of other flights between Auckland and Perth and Auckland and Sydney.

The flights were canceled due to engine maintenance

The reason for the cancelations which are expected to affect as many as 14,000 passengers are due to on-going issues with the Rolls-Royce engines on the airlines 787-9 Dreamliners.

Previously the airline thought that all its maintenance work on the engines could be completed in time for the busy holiday season. However, they have now changed their outlook due to a backlog at Rolls-Royce.

While speaking to Radio New Zealand about the flight cancelations, Brent Thomas from House of Travel said it would impact a large number of their customers.

The cancelations will affect flights between Australia and New Zealand. Photo: GB_NZ Wikimedia Commons

“It is an unfortunate period, particularly over the Christmas period when so many people are traveling. This is going to be significant, just the number of people who are potentially impacted.”

When discussing the reason for the cancelations, he pointed out that it was not just Air New Zealand but other airlines as well. He recommended that passengers contact their travel agent regarding the matter.

“We have to stress this is because of the Rolls-Royce engines. And it’s not just Air New Zealand who are impacted, there’s going to be a significant number of airlines around the world, and we’ll be dealing with those airlines as well.”

Air New Zealand has 10 Trent 1000 engines

When talking with U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail about Air New Zealand having to cancel flights a spokesperson for the Kiwi airline said:

“Rolls-Royce requires operators of its Trent 1000 TEN model engines to carry out more frequent maintenance due to an issue with the engine’s high-pressure turbine blades.

Part of a Trent 1000 engine fell off a Norwegian 787. Photo: Chihaya Sta Wikimedia Commons

“Rolls-Royce does not have any replacement engines available while maintenance work is undertaken and has advised Air New Zealand there’s a significant wait for repair services.

“Air New Zealand has 10 Trent 1000 TEN engines fitted to its 787-9 fleet and has been working to minimize disruption but schedule changes are now unavoidable. Further changes may also be required as the airline progresses the engine checks.”

Air New Zealand has warned passengers that there could be more cancelations as it starts to check the Dreamliners engines.

Engine parts fell on an Italian city

You might recall a story Simple Flying did back in August about a Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 787-8 flying from Rome to Los Angeles. As the aircraft was taking off from Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) its left engine failed, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing back at FCO.

While the plane with 298 passengers on board landed safely, several kilograms of red-hot metal from the failed turbine blades fell on a nearby Italian city. While Rolls-Royce is well aware of the severity of the problem and the cost it is having on their business and reputation the blade issue needs to be fixed even if it means having to ground aircraft and cancel flights.

Perhaps Qantas can take advantage of Air New Zealand’s canceled flights by adding extra capacity to its routes between Australia and New Zealand. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.