Just when you thought the fiasco over the Rolls-Royce manufactured engines on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft had finally been sorted, another problem has been discovered. This time, Singapore Airlines has been forced to ground two of its 787-10 Dreamliners after the airline found premature blade deterioration on some of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines used to power the aircraft.
Singapore Airlines currently has nine Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners in service and flies the aircraft to a variety of destinations including Bangkok, Nagoya, Dehli, Denpasar, Dehli, Perth, Ho Chi Minh City, Fukuoka, Tapei, Osaka, Manila and Tokyo Narita. With a total of 40 of the aircraft type on order, Singapore Airlines will be by far the largest operator of the aircraft type.
The airline says that it has completed checks on its entire fleet of 787-10’s and a remaining check will soon be completed on a 787-9 belonging to low-cost subsidiary Scoot. Although Singapore Airlines hasn’t cancelled any flights so far, it warns that some passengers may face disruption because some routes will be operated with smaller aircraft that have less capacity.
“During recent routine inspections of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10 fleet, premature blade deterioration was found on some engines,” the airline said in a statement.
“SIA (Singapore Airlines) is working closely with Rolls-Royce and the relevant authorities for any additional follow-up actions and precautionary measures that may be required going forward.”
There are currently only 23 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners in operation – Etihad Airways is operating five of the aircraft and United Airlines has eight in its fleet. Etihad Airways opted for General Electric manufactured engines which are not affected by the blade deterioration but United’s fleet is powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN.
It’s not yet known whether United has encountered any problems with its Rolls-Royce engines.
A number of airlines were forced to ground their Boeing 787-8’s and 787-9’s for months at a time last year after the Trent 1000 engine problems were first detected. The debacle cost Rolls-Royce at least £790 million after the company reached settlements with affected carriers.
The engine manufacturer, believing that the problems had been resolved, only recently announced plans to move the Trent 1000 TEN to a less “onerous” inspection regime.
In March, Rolls-Royce won a contract with Lufthansa for its Trent 1000 engine to be used in powering 20 newly ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Silk Air, which is the regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, was forced to ground its fleet of six Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after two deadly crashes involving the aircraft type. A software patch being developed by Boeing could still be weeks or even months away from being certified and implemented. The 737 MAX will remain grounded worldwide until both the FAA and national authorities certify the aircraft as safe to fly.