Global Rolls-Royce engine issue – Air New Zealand update three
Air New Zealand has now completed the engine checks required this week as part of a global inspection of some Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
European aviation regulator EASA issued a directive requiring operators of a type of Trent 1000 engine known as ‘Package C’ to carry out earlier than usual maintenance checks on a specific part of the engine compressor.
As a result of the checks two Air New Zealand 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft will be temporarily removed from service while engines undergo maintenance work at a Rolls-Royce facility in Singapore.
Around 340 engines globally are subject to the checks and this is placing very high demand on Rolls-Royce’s maintenance facility meaning it may take a number of months before Air New Zealand’s engine repair work can be completed.
Earlier this week Air New Zealand rescheduled a number of services and cancelled a small number of services this week and next. Going forward the airline will need to continue to make changes to flight timings and the aircraft type operating on some routes in order to avoid further flight cancellations to the extent that is possible.
Schedule changes will be published in the coming days and Air New Zealand will communicate directly with affected customers and travel agents.
Air New Zealand is also investigating a range of charter options to minimise customer impact, which will include re-introducing charter services operated European carrier Hi Fly next month.
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer David Morgan says the airline remains fully compliant with the directives of EASA, the US aviation regulator FAA, and from Rolls-Royce.
“Unfortunately this will mean disruption for our customers in the coming months as we adjust our schedule and fleet utilisation to accommodate these challenges and we thank our customers for their patience as we work through this.
“Like Air New Zealand, aviation regulators prioritise safety over everything else and EASA and FAA have taken a very conservative approach in the checks and restrictions they’ve put in place around these engines.
“Customers travelling on our Dreamliner aircraft can be very confident in the integrity of the engines.”
Air New Zealand have issued the following statement today. Depending on the outcome of urgent engine checks being conducted in the coming days it's likely that we will see outside aircraft once again chartered to fly Air New Zealand services.
Global Rolls-Royce engine issue – Air New Zealand update two
Air New Zealand is continuing to work with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce on a global issue involving some of the Trent 1000 engines that power its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet.
European regulator EASA issued a directive requiring operators of a type of Trent 1000 engine known as ‘Package C’ to carry out earlier than usual maintenance checks on a specific part of the engine compressor.
The airline is currently carrying out checks and has today rescheduled a number of international services and cancelled a small number of services through to mid next week, impacting around 6,500 passengers in total.
Any further impact to Air New Zealand’s schedule will be determined after required engine checks have been completed on Friday evening.
Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says the airline is doing all it can to minimise the impact of the checks on its customers.
“This is a particularly busy time on our network and we are conscious many Kiwis are heading away for the school holidays. We sincerely apologise for any disruption to our customers’ travel plans and we thank them for their patience.
“Although the requirement for engine checks is outside of our control we are doing all we can to reduce any impact, by making changes to our schedule to allow us to keep cancellations to a minimum.”
Customers impacted by the changes are being contacted directly by Air New Zealand or by the travel agent they booked through and being offered a range of options.
Air New Zealand anticipates high caller demand for its contact centre over this time and customers are advised to avoid calling unless necessary.
Overnight (NZ time) the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have issued an airworthiness directive (AD) concerning Boeing 787-8 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft that use Rolls Royce Trent 1000 Package C engines.
The FAA have placed a temporary restriction on extended operations (ETOPS) operations for all aircraft on the FAA US register fitted with these engines. This means all US registered Dreamliner 787-8 and 787-9 using Package C engines with more than 300 accumulated engine flight cycles will have their ETOPS rating reduced from 330 minutes to 140 minutes. This is due to the increased risk of an engine failure of the 2nd engine if an aircraft has to shut down an engine when flying under ETOPS conditions.
The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) typically enforce FAA directives, so it should be expected that the AD will also be adopted by the CAA and apply to aircraft registered in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand have a fleet on 11 x 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Two of these aircraft (ZK-NZL and ZK-NZM) delivered in late 2017 and used for ETOPS flights to Houston and Buenos Aires are fitted with Trent 1000 TEN engines and are not affected by this AD.
Air New Zealand's nine other 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft have a single Package C and a single TEN engine. These aircraft may be affected by this AD if the Package C engines are over 300 accumulated engine flight cycles. If ETOPS restrictions were placed on these aircraft it will not impact Dreamliner flights to Australia or the Pacific Islands as these will be able to be flown within the new 140 minute ETOPS limit.
If damage is found in any of the Package C engines a worst case scenario for Air New Zealand could mean the grounding of five of these nine aircraft. Work may be able to be undertaken to swap the TEN engines around to keep six aircraft in the Dreamliner fleet flying.
Air New Zealand is about to be hit with another major issue affecting its Rolls Royce Trent 1000 powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
In December airlines globally operating Dreamliner aircraft with Package C Trent 1000 engines were forced to ground aircraft after issues were detected with excessive wear causing cracking of fan blades in the intermediate pressure turbine and intermediate pressure compressor.
This issue saw Air New Zealand flights cancelled as planes were grounded while engine maintenance was undertaken, and saw Air New Zealand charter aircraft from Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly to operate Auckland-Perth and Auckland-Sydney services from December until the end of March.
Media reports overnight and a vaguely worded Rolls Royce announcement to the London Stock Exchange indicate that things are about to get even worse for airlines operating these aircraft and engines, only weeks after airlines operating the Trent 1000 engines saw their schedules largely return to normal. Further issues have been found with the Trent 1000 engines which point to some major turmoil ahead, and disruptions this time around may even lead to the full grounding of Trent 1000 powered Dreamliner fleets.
Overnight Bloomberg have indicated that ETOPS certification for the Package C Trent 1000 may be slashed and that Dreamliner aircraft fitted with these engines may have their ETOPS certification reduced to 140 minutes. If such a decision is made it will mean Air New Zealand will be unable to fly their Dreamliner aircraft on routes to North or South America. Currently the airline operates these aircraft on the Auckland-Houston and Auckland-Buenos Aires routes, with the Auckland-Buenos Aires route also supplemented with Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The airline recently announced a new non-stop Auckland-Chicago route scheduled to begin in November 2018 using Dreamliner aircraft.
Air New Zealand already have Dreamliner ZK-NZE parked up in it's maintenance hanger at Auckland, and TravelTalk is lead to believe NZ175 from Auckland-Perth and the return NZ176 service from Perth on Wednesday 18th April that were due to be operated by a Dreamliner aircraft have already been cancelled as a result of this.
Update: Air New Zealand have late this morning release a media statement on the issue
Air New Zealand statement on global Rolls-Royce engine issue
Air New Zealand is working closely with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce on a global issue involving some of the Trent 1000 engines that power its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet.
Last month Rolls-Royce, in conjunction with European regulator EASA, issued a directive requiring operators of a type of Trent 1000 engine known as ‘Package C’ to carry out earlier than usual maintenance checks on a specific part of the engine compressor.
This check was already required prior to the engine reaching a flying threshold of 2000 cycles (one way journeys). The directive reduces that timeframe to 300 cycles. Rolls-Royce advises 380 engines globally are impacted by the directive, including nine in the Air New Zealand 787 fleet.
Trent 1000 Package C engines that have operated fewer than 300 cycles are unaffected by this directive. Air New Zealand also has Trent 1000 TEN model engines in its 787 fleet and these are unaffected.
Air New Zealand expects there will be some impact to its international schedule as a result of the checks and thanks customers in advance for their patience as it works through this challenge at what is a very busy time for travel.