Troubled Jet Engines

By David Hopwood | November 12, 2019

When the 1st Boeing 787 dreamliner was delivered to ANA in September 25, 2011, it was all fun and glitter until corrosion in the blades of the engine got noticed later on during the aircraft’s operation in Early in 2016. This led to grounding of numerous 787 across the globe experiencing the same issue. Don’t forget this was the same aircraft plagued with the battery issues.

Rolls-Royce however provided a short-term solution and quickly developed new blades, more resistant to corrosion. The industry needed a permanent fix. So, using experience from the Trent XWB that Airbus uses on its A350s Rolls-Royce developed an engine to end all the problems – the Trent 1000 TEN. However, the excitement was short lived.

The Trent 1000 TEN.

The TEN engine made its debut commercial flight in November of 2017. In addition to the improved reliability, Rolls-Royce promised airlines a reduced (2% less) fuel burn compared to the previous variant.

What mattered more was the improvements to the longevity of the engine. At first glance, everything looked okay.

Rolls-Royce testing the TRENT 1000 Engines on a Boeing 747 

But Singapore Airlines discovered signs of cracks on their engines during preliminary maintenance checks. The airline then grounded 2 of its 9 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

In its latest trading update, Rolls-Royce predicts that Trent 1000 problems across all variants will cost it about £2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) from 2017-23, which is about £1 billion more than it forecast a little over a  year ago. This is because it includes a £400 million additional cost across all the Trent 1000 engine variants, plus £400 million of Trent 1000 TEN costs previously included in normal programme contingency.

“The delay will give our customers and ourselves a higher degree of certainty as we plan for the servicing of the fleet over the coming years.” Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East said 


Simply put, the TEN was a disaster. This engine, which shares 25% parts commonality with earlier builds, that was supposed to put Trent 1000 problems to bed has issues which appear to be among the most serious.

Tim Clark, CEO Emirates, accused manufactures of delivering aircraft that don’t do what was promised. 

“Give us air frames and engines that work from day one. If you can’t do it, don’t produce them,” he said.

Airlines affected with the problem include Ethiopian, LOT Polish, Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand.

This is not a Boeing problem. Boeing’s reputation is already shattered, as the general public discovered the shady practices of the plane manufacturer when certifying the MAX. Even though the engines built by Rolls-Royce are at fault, but they are specifically built for the Boeing 787. As a result of this, the names of Rolls-Royce and Boeing will be inseparable in the headlines. Additionally, the word grounded will also be present in the headline.

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