Forty Rolls Royce Airbus A380 engines ‘need replacing’
Rolls Royce has said a specific component in the engine was to blame for the fire
Up to 40 Rolls-Royce engines on Airbus A380 superjumbos worldwide will need to be replaced, according to Australian airline Qantas.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was speaking two weeks after a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on an A380 exploded in mid-air, forcing an emergency landing.
Qantas has grounded its six A380s since the incident.
The Trent 900 engines are used on A380s operated by Qantas, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
Between them the three airlines operate 20 A380 planes, each of which has four Rolls-Royce engines.
Mr Joyce told reporters at Sydney airport the airline had already replaced three engines on its planes.
“We’ve been talking to Airbus and Rolls-Royce and we understand that the number [of engines to be replaced] is around 40,” he said.
“We’ll have a daily dialogue with Rolls-Royce to determine which engines actually need to be taken off,” he said.
Investigators believe an oil leak inside the engines may have caused the fire on the Qantas flight from Singapore to Sydney on 4 November.
Rolls-Royce has said the engine failure “was confined to a specific component” which led to an oil fire and loss of turbine pressure.
Singapore Airlines, with 11 A380s, said it has replaced three Trent 900s. Lufthansa, with three of the aircraft, said it has replaced one engine, but the reason was unrelated to the Qantas explosion.
Other A380 users Emirates and Air France do not use Rolls’ engines.
Last week, Rolls said it had isolated the cause of the fault, and that the issue could have a slight impact on profits growth this year.
Airbus said that problems could delay future deliveries of A380s, but said it was too early to determine the impact.
Rolls had been due to hold a press conference at a Chinese air show on Wednesday, but cancelled without giving a reason.
Lufthansa announced Thursday that it will replace an engine on one of its Airbus A380 planes, after an engine caught fire on an A380 operated by Australia’s Quantas earlier this month.
A spokesman for the German airline said the decision to replace the engine was reached after discussions with manufacturer Rolls- Royce.
The engine in question was made in an early production series. The 15 remaining engines on Lufthansa’s four A380 superjumbos were manufactured more recently and did not contain the module which had caught fire on the Quantas plane, the spokesman said.
Lufthansa decided it was easier to replace the entire engine than the part in question.
The German airline uses the superjumbo on its routes from Frankfurt to Tokyo, Beijing and Johannesburg. The maintenance work is not expected to cause delays in Lufthansa’s timetable.
Singapore Airlines said Thursday it would replace Rolls Royce engines fitted on its 11 Airbus A380 superjumbos if advised by the manufacturers to do so.
“We remain in very close contact with both Rolls Royce and Airbus, and all checks that we have carried out to date have been in full compliance with their recommendations and instructions,” Singapore Airlines spokesman Nicholas Ionides said.
The airline would also continue with engine inspections as advised by the European Aviation Safety Agency, he added.
“Under this inspection regime, as and when engines need to be replaced as advised by our manufacturers, we have been doing so and will continue to do so, to ensure the safe and continuous operation of the fleet,” he said.
Singapore Airlines said earlier it could not be definite on the number of engines or engine components that might require modification.