Boeing 787 Trent 1000 Crisis Is “Unacceptable” – Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce has called the ongoing crisis with their Trent 1000 engines “unacceptable”. The comments were made at a press briefing attended by Simple Flying in Derby yesterday. It comes after months of inconvenience and cost caused to airlines.

Rolls Royce Trent 1000
A Boeing 787 awaits replacement Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine crisis has seen significant disruption suffered by airlines. Cracks have been found in engine blades. These cracks are obviously dangerous, and as such many aircraft have been grounded while the flaw is rectified. The issue is the single biggest currently affecting the company, and as such is being treated very seriously.

Working intensely on the issue

Rolls Royce is working “intensely” on resolving the issue with the Trent 1000 engines. Rolls Royce’s Chief Customer Officer of Civil Aerospace, Dominic Horwood, told how: “We are clearly working intensely with our customers every day to support the recovery of their fleets.”

He went on to add that the situation is unacceptable. “We deeply regret the disruption that we have caused our customers and the unacceptable level of customer disruption that we see across the fleet.”

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The solution

Rolls Royce is currently tackling the issue of the Trent 1000. In order to combat the disruption caused. “We are clearly working intensely with our customers every day to support the recovery of their fleets.” Horwood added “It is intense. This is the activity that preoccupies us every day, as it should. But, I absolutely want to stress the focus this has, the intensity it has, the way that we feel about supporting our customers.”

Rolls Royce Trent 1000
Rolls Royce has labelled the level of disruption completely unacceptable. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Rolls Royce has slowly been remedying the situation. Indeed, the company hopes that significant progress will be made to remedy the situation by the end of the year with Horwood claiming “we’re driving to get to a significantly lower level of disruption by the end of this year. That is absolutely the focus with all customers.”

What effect has the crisis had?

The Trent 1000 crisis has led to a number of operators being forced to ground their aircraft. This has led to huge costs for the operators concerned. While they have had to temporarily replace the aircraft, they have also had to pay compensation to customers for cancelled flights.

Indeed, we have seen British Airways frequently wet-leasing the Air Belgium Airbus A340 in order to ensure that flights are not cancelled. Meanwhile, Norwegian had to hire the Hifly Airbus A380 on a number of occasions.

Rolls Royce Trent 1000
A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 powered by Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Rolls Royce and Norwegian had previously reached a deal on compensation with a spokesperson saying “Norwegian’s long-haul operation has been disrupted by challenges with the Rolls-Royce engines on the Dreamliners. The Company has now reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce which will have a positive effect from the first quarter of 2019.”

At the briefing, the manufacturer also hinted that is was in discussions about powering supersonic aircraft.

Do you think Rolls Royce is doing enough about the Trent 1000 situation? Let us know in the comments!

6 comments
  1. I think RR is doing all they can, its how they got there that is the issue.

    There are actually two issues and RR is only discussing one and trying to deflect the other one.

    One is blade corrosion and that goes back 3 years or so when ANA first found their going South and it was “attributed” to salt water environment. Most major airports are on the ocean and almost all 787 flights are over the Ocean. That is really disingenuous.

    Wrapped up in this is the fact they never could get the Trent 1000 up to fuel use agreements. That is a unprecedented in Aviation failure. The architecture was so wrong they could never get it up to spec.

    They then came out with an all new engine (The Trent 1000 Ten). They used the same core as does the Trend 7000 and they all have the same issues.

    The other is blade cracking and that affects all the Trent 1000/Ten and the 7000 on the A330NEO (there have been unspecified reports of blade issues on the Trent 800 on the A380 as well.

    RR only recently realized the blade cracking issue and that it was a harmonic causing that. they then came up with whiz bang program to forecast it and said it was safe for X hours and cycles.

    The forecast were wrong, a number of aircraft have had to land when the engines failed. Fortunately near airports.

    The cracks go worse faster at full power and what you need when an engine goes out? Yep, full power.

    The fix is not that hard but all blades have to be replaced.

    Much like Boeing with the MCAS, they shot themselves in the foot and have been behind the 8 ball ever since.

    RR is also restrictive on repair centers so they had to build a larger network to do the required that were needed as there are hundreds of RR Trent 1000 and derivatives out there that need blades changed.

    GE has been better in fuel burn use and improved their engines to meet and exceed the spec they agree to.

    Now New Zealand Airlines has given up on the Trents and gone to GE engines (also unheard of)

    Its not that GE has not had some problems on their engine, they did and all do. Its that the engine has proven reliable and upgraded to meet the spec and has not grounded entire fleets.

    How RR managed to muck this up so badly is got to be a story all by itself along the lines of Boeing and the much more public 787 debacle.

    RR has alwyas been snooty about their more complex engines claim 3 spools are so much better than two and better fuel burn. GE has proven them wrong (on the A380 as well) and now RR touts the Trents as better for short runs (787s generally do LONG runs) – you now have a more complex engines with more maint and higher overhaul costs for shorter flights.

    We don’t know about the A350 XWB engine as it took some time in service for the Trent issues to show up but its been consistent blade issue across the modern line.

    .

    1. Firstly the Trent 800 is a 777 engine and has not had any issues like the Trent 1000. The Trent 900 which is on the A380 has had chord issues due to wear and tear in some environments yes. This and fuel consumption was one of the reasons Emirates killed off their A380 order. Rolls decided that it was more cost effective to pay Emirates a penalty than integrate a PIP package for an engine that was not going to earn them any money even if they got orders for another 200 engines (50 x A380’s). Rolls are not “hiding” the issue about fuel consumption performance. The KEY issue before attempting to do any PIP on the Trent 1000 is to get the damn things working on the wing in the 1st place before you can start thinking of PIP-ping the thing. And on that note, Rolls have got their priorities correct. There are however many people commenting on here about RR defective engines. The number of A320neo gliders as a result of defective GTF’s was much higher and today’s announcement that the wing life of GTFs has been downgraded (especially on A220’s) will be interesting when we see Pratt suffer a repeat similar situation to Rolls yet in far higher numbers. Lets see how the US fanboys start shit-talking Pratt like they do Rolls.

  2. Smokerr has a very good take on the Trent 1000 problems. Boeing spread its engine risks between two makers, GE and Rolls. It appears an airplane widebody customer may change out engine alliances when ordering new 787’s. That is what New Zealand Air is doing with its latest 787-10 order for 8 units having additional options. If NewZealand Air opts for more 787-9’s and chooses GE engines, I’m afraid an engine trend has been set for ordering GE’s when submitting a proposal for wide-bodied aircraft. Rolls is panicked and the market is shifting towards GE dominance for those customers having loyalty with Rolls Royce engines.

    1. There are traditionally GE customers now buying RR on the A350 since that became a single option aircraft. So far the Trent XWB has not had any of the issues of the Trent 1000. Rolls WILL get the issues ironed out and PIP the engines. Then we will be able to concentrate on the PW GTF’s creating havoc when they start failing and grounding planes in far higher numbers. Rolls will come back with a modified Trent XWB/1000 with an Ultrafan soon that will turn the advantage back to them.

  3. I agree with Andrew’s comments, the RR package C engines continue to have problems, even after the repair, some months later they back in hanger with the engines of, this was experienced with Air NZ, ZK NZE 787-900, this plane suffered blade damage a year back, the engines sent for repair in Singapore, and some months later it returned to service. Recently in Auckland I saw this plane back in the hanger again without engines, so the issues continue.

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