Trent 1000 Issues Prompt El Al To Bring New Engine Delivery Forward

Israeli airline El Al has advanced the delivery of two Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines. Due to be delivered in 2023 – 2024, the engines were in fact received this month in an effort to tackle the technical problems faced by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

El Al dreamliner
El Al has 11 Dreamliners in its fleet with five more on order. Photo: El Al

According to Flight Global, El Al was advised by Rolls Royce that certain parts on the Trent 1000 TEN engines could need replacing earlier than expected. This follows the airline finding issues in two of its Dreamliner engines in July, both of which have been replaced by spares until the problems are resolved.

Across El Al’s Dreamliner fleet, replacement engine parts will be required. The carrier said in its first half 2019 earnings call that it has discussed a program to undertake this between 2019 and 2021. Right now, it has four spare engines installed in its fleet.

The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 TEN issue

The Trent 1000 engines have been plagued with issues in recent months. Turbine blades need to be replaced with redesigned components, due to wearing prematurely on the Package B and C engines. Rolls Royce told investors that their IPC replacement for Pack C is complete and being fitted already. The replacement for Pack B is well underway and has been undergoing initial testing.

Trent 1000 IPC
The IPC fanblades have been wearing prematurely. Photo: Rolls Royce

At the peak of the issue, 44 aircraft were grounded in total. Rolls Royce hopes to reduce this number to a single figure by the end of 2019. The manufacturer plans for all the changes to be implemented on Package B and C fleets by 2022.

Chris Cholerton, President of Civil Aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said in a statement,

“We sincerely regret the operational impact to our customers, and we are working closely with them to minimize this. We deeply appreciate their continued support. We remain absolutely committed to eliminating these issues from the Trent 1000 fleet and providing the best powerplant for the Boeing 787.”

El Al’s Dreamliner fleet

El Al has 11 787-9s in its fleet and expects to receive a further three by the end of the year. The last two, they say, will arrive in the first quarter of 2020 which will be all the Dreamliners it has on order. Seven of these have been bought by the company at a cost of $1.2bn, and the other nine are leased.

El AL Dreamliner fleet
El Al say the Dreamliner has done wonders for its bottom line. Photo: El Al

In tandem with the receipt of new aircraft, the airline is slowly removing its 747s from service. It has also retired the last of its Boing 767s as part of its fleet modernization strategy.

Within its results presentation, El Al noted that the company’s jet fuel expenses decreased around 8.2% over the first half of 2019, reflecting an $20.6m saving. This came, they say, despite a 4.3% increase in available seat miles, stating that this was mainly due to the increased use of the Dreamliner.

Clearly, the Dreamliner is an investment that is starting to pay off for El Al, and having any jets out of service is not a positive outlook. As such, the acceleration of these engine deliveries will ensure the airline can continue operating a full complement of aircraft going forward.