Rolls-Royce Identifies Cracks On Airbus A350 Engines

Rolls-Royce today announced that it had found cracks on some of its Airbus A350 XWB-84 engines. The wear was discovered during routine examinations of the engines following four to five years of service. No abnormal engine operation has resulted from the wear at this time.

Rolls Royce, XWB-84, Engine Wear
Rolls-Royce has discovered wear in its XWB-84 engines. Photo: Getty Images

Rolls-Royce is one of a handful of significant aerospace engine companies. The British engine manufacturer mainly focuses on powering widebody aircraft, with its engines seen on everything from the Boeing 747 to the Airbus A380. However, the company recently had a series of high profile issues with its Trent 1000 engine, used for the Boeing 787.

What’s up with the XWB-84?

The manufacturer developed the Rolls-Royce XWB-84 engine to power Airbus’ A350 family. The engines were introduced into service around five years ago, and have clocked up some 14 million kilometers of flights since. However, following five years in service, the first significant engine checks are now due.

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Following four to five years of service, Rolls-Royce is now undertaking routine inspections of XWB-84 engines in its maintenance facilities. During these checks, the company has highlighted abnormal wear to engine blades in the Intermediate Pressure Compressor of several engines.

Rolls Royce, XWB-84, Engine Wear
The Rolls-Royce XWB family of engines powers Airbus’ A350 family. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

As a result, all other XWB-84 engines from Rolls-Royce with a similar service life will now undergo checks as a precaution. The company pointed out that during its time in service so far, the XWB-84 has achieved record low levels of in-flight disruption. Additionally, the first engines have needed no unplanned maintenance.

Another Trent 1000?

Rolls-Royce previously had to take action after abnormal wear was spotted in its Trent 1000 family. This saw many aircraft grounded, pending engine checks, and maintenance.

However, the manufacturer worked hard to make sure that no more aircraft were affected by the Trent 1000 issues. Indeed, recently Simple Flying reported that 787 operator Virgin Atlantic had ungrounded its last aircraft affected by the issues.

Rolls Royce, XWB-84, Engine Wear
Previous issues with the Trent 1000 family saw aircraft grounded for months. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

In this instance, Rolls-Royce is confident that it won’t be landed with a similar situation to when the Trent 1000 issues were identified. The manufacturer is satisfied that due to existing scheduled maintenance, in addition to the availability of spare engines, no high costs or disruption to airlines will result from the additional checks.

Commenting on the XWB-84’s wear, Chris Cholerton, President of Civil Aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said,

“The Trent XWB-84 has experienced the smoothest entry into service of any widebody engine we have developed. It is the most efficient in-service large civil aero-engine in the world, with unequalled on-wing reliability. Engines now coming in for overhaul have travelled the equivalent of 350 times around the world, with no unplanned maintenance. It is reassuring to see that our proactive inspection regime has enabled us to identify and swiftly address this issue and minimise any potential impact on our customers.”

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