Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2011. Contents Manufacturers
Ian Goold / London
Asia-Pacific dominates 20-year outlook
As of mid-February, Australia's
Qantas Air ways was still mulling
the compensation it would seek
after November's grounding of
its A380 eet, triggered by the
uncontained failure of a Rolls-
Royce (R-R) Trent 900 engine.
In December, Qantas had warned that it would
consider taking legal steps against the UK-based
engine manufacturer if a compensation offer was
unsatisfactory. Damages covering loss of revenue,
engineering costs, and impact on its schedules and
"brand" image were being considered.
While the operator would not detail the settlement
sought and R-R says details of such settlements are
commercially sensitive, the engine-maker has made
provision in its 2010 accounts for 56 million pounds
sterling (US$90 million). e sum covers related
Trent 900 costs, including engine repairs, redesign,
un-contracted settlements to a ected customers, and
compensation for delayed engine deliveries.
e sum was revealed in the company's 2010 annual
results, announced in early February -- and it was
understood Qantas could provide guidance gures
in its own half-year nancial statement, scheduled for
release as Asian Aviation went to press. Rolls-Royce
Chief Executive Sir John Rose says he believes any
additional associated costs will have only a modest
impact on this year's business.
e engine failure generated "considerable scrutiny"
of the aircra and the Trent 900, R-R says.
"A rapid and effective response from all
stakeholders, including Qantas, Airbus, Rolls-Royce,
and [regulators], enabled quick understanding of the
cause, issues, and remedies, and the return to normal
service within a matter of weeks," the company says.
e European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has
issued an air worthiness directive requiring periodic
inspections to detect abnormal oil leakage, which,
if found, would require the withdrawal of an engine
EASA also has mandated enhancement of Trent
900 electronic engine-control so ware to introduce
intermediate-pressure turbine overspeed protection.
R-R tests have con rmed that oil-feed tubes with a
de ned minimum thin-wall section o er a higher
"life" and reduced risk of fracture.
Qantas resumed transpaci c A380 ser vices from
Melbourne to Los Angeles in mid-January, a er
having earlier returned the aircra to European routes
own via Singapore. e latter can be own without
recourse to the full 72,000lb thrust the carrier needs
for ights to North America. Apart from the Qantas
suspension, A380s own by other Trent 900 operators
Lu hansa and Singapore Airlines under went detailed
inspections and/or engine change that, in turn, will
have generated extra costs.
Seeking to provide context for the failure, the rst
involving a large civil R-R engine since 1994, the
manufacturer says that such an "uncontained disc
release" occurs on large civil airliners worldwide with
"a frequency of about once a year". Rose says R-R is
"working hard to minimise disruptions" to new A380
deliveries, but has not provided details on short-term
production adjustments that might be required.
He emphasises that no customers have dropped
Trent 900 orders, while some have re-con rmed
business since November.
Long-established customer British Airways has
placed the rst Trent 900 order since the Qantas
incident. e US$5 billion deal covers engines for
12 A380s scheduled for delivery from 2013, Trent
1000 engines for 24 Boeing 787s, and options to buy
a further 25 engines.
R-R's civil aerospace business, which represents
just over 40 percent of the company's group turnover,
enjoyed a 10 percent increase to about US$7.9 billion.
Much of this arose from provision of support and
"power by the hour" maintenance (which accounts
for more than half of total revenue) rather than new
e manufacturer claims that last year saw "good
progress" with several key development programmes,
including the Trent 1000, the Airbus A400M's
TP400 turboprop powerplant, and the BR725 for
the Gulfstream G650. e Trent XWB engine for the
Airbus A350 XWB was run for the rst time last June.
e Trent 1000 has logged over 2,000 hours of ight
test on the Boeing 787, while three Trent XWBs are
involved in the test programme with four more engines
scheduled to enter testing during this year.
e Trent 700 is said to have won more than 90
percent of 2010 orders to power the Airbus A330, and
more than 70 percent of those placed in the past ve
years. e model's order book stands at record levels,
even a er delivery of 139 units last year.
In addition, R-R took combined orders for more
than 150 Trent 1000 and XWB variants last year,
bringing those programmes to a cumulative 1,700-
plus units, a volume that the UK manufacturer says
is similar to the current operating civil Trent eet,
which entered ser vice in 1994.
Nevertheless, the company adds that it continues
to face "challenging" trading conditions.
"The increasing costs of bringing major new
programmes to market, higher research and
development charges, and the net e ect of a number
of one-off items all contributed to a decline in
pro tability, largely as had been expected," says R-R.
" is decline was partially o set by foreign-exchange
bene ts and improving productivity." n
Rolls-Royce ran its new Trent XWB engine for the first time last June.
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