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Air New Zealand Forced to Ground Chicago Service For Five Months Because of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Engine Woes

Air New Zealand Forced to Ground Chicago Service For Five Months Because of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Engine Woes

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Air New Zealand has been forced to ground its non-stop service to Chicago from Auckland for at least five months because of continuing problems with the engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Aotearoa flag carrier will suspend its Chicago service from March 31 until at least October 25, 2024, owing to what the airline described as “ongoing challenges” with the availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines for the 787 Dreamliner.

The Trent 1000 engines are meant to require heavy maintenance where they are taken off the aircraft and, in the case of Air New Zealand, sent to an offshore facility for inspection after 1,000 engine cycles – or, in other words, after every 1,000 take-offs and landings.

But Air New Zealand has discovered that the engines on its fleet of 14 Boeing 787-9s are requiring heavy maintenance after just 750 to 850 engine cycles.

This is a Rolls-Royce issue rather than a Boeing problem, but the engine manufacturer hasn’t been able to provide Air New Zealand with any spare engines. As a result, the airline has been forced to ground some of its 787s while engine maintenance gets underway.

“Unfortunately, Air New Zealand continues to be impacted by challenges with availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, meaning we will now have up to three aircraft unavailable for an extended period,” explained the airline’s chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

“We know this will be disappointing for customers travelling to and from Chicago during this period, especially to those travelling over the upcoming April holiday break,” Geraghty continued.

Air New Zealand resumed service to Chicago in October 2022 following a long pandemic-induced hiatus. Despite now cutting flights to the Windy City, the airline will continue to serve six other destinations across the United States and Canada.

On top of its Rolls-Royce engine woes, Air New Zealand is also facing continuing supply chain constraints with the Pratt & Whitney engines that power its fleet of new Airbus A321neo aircraft.

These engines are also requiring maintenance much sooner than anticipated, forcing Air New Zealand to ground five of its newest and most efficient aircraft at any one time for the next 18 months at least. The issue has been dragging on since early 2023.

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