FAA reduces operability of planes powered with Trent 1000
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner powered by the faulty batch of Trent 1000 Package C engines are under tight flight restrictions after a ruling of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The U.S. agency forbids those planes to fly more than 140 minutes from an airport they can divert to.
The decision to reduce the planes ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards) comes after it has been reported that the affected engines were subject to in-flight shutdown when they are operating in maximum continuous thrust (MCT).
That level of thrust creates vibration damaging the compressor blades, leading to engine failures. And since a Dreamliner with one of its engines failing needs to put the other engine in MCT mode to compensate, the risk of seeing both Trent 1000 fail is increased, hence the reduced ETOPS.
The decision is only affecting fourteen aircraft of U.S. airlines. However, Boeing revealed that about 168 B787 Dreamliners were affected worldwide, meaning that such a ruling could be enforced by other authorities like the EASA. The two European companies Norwegian Air and Virgin Atlantic reported that respectively 15 and 14 of their planes were powered by the faulty Trent 1000.
Rolls Royce previously announced it would “carry out additional engine inspections to those previously planned”. Those intensified maintenance checks are bound to disrupt the activity of many companies. Upon announcement of the inspections, Rolls Royce CEO Warren East declared: “We will be working closely with Boeing and affected airlines to minimise disruption wherever possible.”
Air New Zealand warns customers that because of the inspections, it had to “reschedule a number of international services and cancelled a small number of services [...] impacting around 6,500 passengers in total.”
Norwegian Air will also carry out inspections. In an interview to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, communication officer of Norwegian Air, said the airline was “disappointed with Rolls-Royce and Boeing.” Its route from Paris-Orly to New York is the only one affected by the problem.
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