ANA Holdings Inc. confirmed it will replace or repair all Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners in order to deal with an outbreak of cracks in the medium-pressure turbines caused by excessive vibration. The issue has caused All-Nippon Airways to cancel 18 flights in the past week, and reports indicate up to 300 more flights may have to be canceled in the coming weeks as the issue is addressed.
One report stated ANA and Rolls-Royce had been discussing a corrosion problem on the turbines since March of this year, a problem that was discovered after one ANA 787 had to shut down an engine. Reportedly, Rolls-Royce will begin supplying modified versions of the turbine blades as soon as January, to replace all the blades on the engines installed in its 47 Dreamliners.
The Trent 1000 is high-bypass turbofan engine, widely in place for commercial aircraft built by Boeing and Airbus. It is one of two engine options available to carriers for the Boeing 787; the other is the GE Aviation GEnx. Some 787s outfitted with the GE engines were listed for emergency repairs earlier this year.
ANA was the world’s first airline to operate the 787 Dreamliner, and it has the world’s largest fleet of those twin-engine wide-body jets in service. It also has orders in place with Boeing for eight more of the aircraft.
The airline explained in its statement that it has found not only cracks but broken turbines on the engines of three aircraft. It indicated it would prioritize the repairs by replacing the damaged engines in some aircraft while Rolls-Royce develops a new version of the blades for the damaged engines. It noted that repairing all the engines in its Dreamliner fleet could take up to three years.
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East commented that the damage to its engine design represents “an issue, but it's a manageable issue. … With the more intensive use, the natural wear and tear on the engines happens sooner," he was quoted. "By the time we get all the way through the fleet it's going to take some time."