Rolls-Royce accelerates fleet inspections

Rolls-Royce says it is responding to “earlier than anticipated High Pressure Turbine (HPT) blade deterioration identified in a small population of Trent 1000 TEN engines” after working with regulatory authorities to establish a plan for inspecting the remaining fleet.

Rolls-Royce said that an accelerated inspection regime has now been agreed. As part of this process, an Airworthiness Directive will be issued by EASA in addition to a Rolls-Royce Service Bulletin.

Following sampling of a population of Trent 1000 TEN engines that have experienced a higher frequency of flights at the upper end of their operating range, some of these engines have needed to have their HPT blades replaced earlier than scheduled.

Rolls Royce said in a statement: “This new accelerated inspection regime is designed to allow us to confirm the health of the Trent 1000 TEN fleet over the next few months.

“The Trent 1000 TEN engine has been in service since November 2017, and there are currently more than 180 of this type of engine in service.

“Since the entry into service of the Trent 1000 TEN, Rolls-Royce has communicated to airlines that the HPT blades in these engines would have a reduced life. As a result, our engineers have already been developing, and are currently testing, an enhanced version of this blade. We expect to start incorporating enhanced blades into the Trent 1000 TEN fleet in early 2020.

“Based on our current understanding of the situation and fleet management plan, our guidance for in-service cash costs on the Trent 1000 in 2019 and 2020, as published with our 2018 Full Year Results on 28 February 2019, remains unchanged.”

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “We sincerely regret the disruption this accelerated inspection regime will cause and we are doing everything we can to support our customers.

“These inspections will allow us to confirm the health of the Trent 1000 TEN fleet and to improve our understanding of the High Pressure Turbine blade deterioration that we have seen in a small number of engines.

“This blade deterioration is a known issue but it is occurring faster than we expected in some engines. We started development of an enhanced blade last year, which we are now testing. We expect to start incorporating enhanced blades into the Trent 1000 TEN fleet in early 2020.”

This new inspection regime has no impact on our ongoing proactive maintenance programmes for the Trent 1000 Package B or Package C engines.