Rolls Royce engine problem grounds Thai Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Trent turbine troubles ground Thai 787s

Thai Airways International has grounded part of its Boeing 787-8 fleet owing to turbine replacement issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine.

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The carrier says it is working with Rolls-Royce on the issue, which it expects to be sorted out by September.

“Due to the shortage of Boeing 787 Dreamliner engine spare parts, it is necessary that some aircraft of this type must be parked and temporarily cannot be operated, which is a problem that affects Thai and other airlines worldwide whose 787 aircraft are equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that have turbine blade problems,” says Thai’s acting president, Usanee Sangsingkoo, in a statement.

She adds: “As this problem may affect flight safety, Thai has removed these engines from its aircraft and sent them for repair at the Rolls-Royce technical maintenance center in Singapore earlier this year.”

The Star Alliance carrier has also conducted negotiations with R-R to obtain compensation expenses accruing from the issue.

When contacted by FlightGlobal, R-R said it is working to resolve Trent 1000 issues.

“This is the continuation of work which started last year to upgrade Trent 1000 engines to the latest standard,” says R-R.

“We have a clear service management plan in place with all operators to undertake this work and minimise disruption. The current disruption that we are causing to the Thai fleet is clearly of great concern to us. The Thai and Rolls-Royce teams are working together to minimise this impact and restore full flight operations as soon as possible.”

In September 2016, R-R said it would replace turbine blades in the intermediate-pressure turbine of the global Trent 1000 fleet. The engine-maker said that the existing design was “failing to meet its expected lifespan”, and that it would roll out a global fix.

Media reports from Thailand say that four of Thai’s six 787-8s are grounded. One story shows the image of a parked 787-8 with an empty engine cowling.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the average age of Thai’s 787s is 2.6 years. Thai also has two 787-9s on order, which are to be delivered in September and December.

Sangsingkeo adds that it is using other types on 787-8 routes to ensure passenger service is not affected. FlightMaps Analytics shows that Thai’s 787s operate short and middle-haul routes. Key destinations include Brisbane, Perth, Delhi, Beijing, and Phuket.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that there are 213 in-service 787s globally that are powered with Trent 1000s. Of these, 101 are with operators in the Asia-Pacific.

Globally, major users of Trent 1000 powered 787s include All NipponAirways with 59 aircraft, British Airways (24), and LATAM (23).

Reported on 6 July 2017 by FlightGlobal.