Rolls-Royce to increase inspections of Trent 1000 engines

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Rolls-Royce is warning of further disruption to Boeing 787 operators after disclosing that it will be conducting expanded inspections of certain Trent 1000 engines.

The latest problem concerns a wear issue in the Trent 1000's compressor that's worse than expected, according to Rolls-Royce, which said the inspections will be accompanied by safety guidance to airlines issued by airworthiness authorities.

One of the biggest names in British manufacturing, Rolls-Royce is in the midst of a restructuring by CEO Warren East but its turnaround has been hampered by problems with some turbine blades that have worn out more quickly than expected.

"While the compressor technical issue was known at the time of our results, the requirement for more regular inspections will lead to higher than previously guided cash costs being incurred during 2018", it said in a statement. Societe Generale raised shares of Rolls-Royce from a "sell" rating to a "hold" rating in a research report on Thursday, March 8th.

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Boeing said about 25 per cent of the 787 Dreamliners flying were powered by the engine and it was deploying support teams to mitigate service disruptions.

The need to inspect and fix Trent 1000 engines has led to an industry-wide shortage.

Targets for the discretionary spending cuts elsewhere will include company travel, IT upgrades and work on Rolls-Royce's UltraFan engine and other next-generation programmes, East said, though plans to compete on Boeing's new middle-of-market aircraft - or NMA - won't be affected. If a durability issue is found, the blade are replaced.

"We have an ongoing dialogue with both Boeing and Rolls-Royce and we have been told this problem has their full attention".

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This type of check is usually required after reaching making 2000 one-way flights, however Roll-Royce are requiring them to now be checked after 300 flights.

A Virgin spokeswoman said it had been aware of the increased inspections announced today and that the cover it had in place would be sufficient.

Air New Zealand is one of the airlines affected by the problem, with nine of the Package C engines, said it expected there would be some impact on its worldwide schedule as a result of the additional checks. "Air New Zealand also has Trent 1000 TEN model engines in its 787 fleet and these are unaffected".

Nevertheless, Rolls confirmed its free-cash-flow guidance for the year at around £450 million.

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