Faulty Rolls-Royce engines force grounding of five Boeing 787s

Posted on 24 Jul 2012

After a standard test indicated a part of the Trent 1000 engines could be at risk of corrosion, five of the 11 787 Dreamliners owned by Japanese airline ANA were grounded. Three are now back in operation.

The potential for corrosion became apparent during regular testing of the engine in the UK. Boeing was alerted immediately, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper, but the US aerospace firm has reiterated that delivery of ordered Dreamliners to its other customers would not be affected by the fault.

The fault was located inside the engine’s gearbox, supplied by an external supplier, and Rolls-Royce said the potential risk was caused by a new, undisclosed manufacturing process. This process has been scrapped with immediate effect.

The fault affects eight engines in five aircraft operated by ANA, and three of these engines are now back in service. A spokesman for Rolls-Royce told The Manufacturer nine engines in total, all destined for Boeing, that have this fault will be rectified that before they reach the aircraft maker.

In a statement Rolls-Royce said: “As part of a rigorous approach to product safety and quality we have identified that a component on a Trent 1000 engine fitted to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a reduced service life. As a proactive measure this component is being replaced in a number of engines.”

The aeroengine manufacturer’s shares fell 15.5p yesterday. Boeing took a hit as well: its shares fell 1.25%.