Replacement engines ordered for A380 fleet

Plans are being drawn up to replace as many as 40 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on Airbus A380 aircraft around the world, according to Australian airline Qantas.

The superjumbos have come under the spotlight in recent weeks following an engine failure on Qantas Flight QF32 which forced the aircraft into an emergency landing in Singapore.

Qantas Airlines has since grounded its six strong fleet of A380s, while Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa – both of which utilise Rolls-Royce engines to power their A380 fleets – also briefly suspended services.

Rolls-Royce has since identified a single component it believes it responsible for the fault in its Trent 900 engine.

Following the announcement Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, has said he believes the engine manufacturer will now replace up to 40 of the engines.

Speaking to reporters he said: “We’ve been talking to Airbus and Rolls-Royce and we understand that the number of engines to be replaced is around 40.

“We will have a daily dialogue with Rolls-Royce to determine which engines actually need to be taken off,” he added.

Mr Joyce also confirmed the airline had already replaced three engines on its A380 planes.

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Replacements

Between them Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Lufthansa operate 20 A380 planes, each of which has four Rolls-Royce engines.

Singapore Airlines, with 11 A380s, said it has replaced three Trent 900s. Lufthansa, with three of the aircraft, said it has replaced one engine, but the reason was unrelated to the Qantas explosion.

Other A380 users Emirates and Air France do not use Rolls’ engines.

Delays

Airbus said problems could delay future deliveries of A380s, but said it was too early to determine the impact.

In an attempt to address the situation, Rolls-Royce is reportedly preparing to cannibalise several half-built A380 superjumbos on production lines to obtain more than a dozen new engines.

Carriers such as Qantas would be first in line to receive the new engines.

Negotiations are ongoing with Airbus about raiding engines from three or four superjumbos due to be delivered next year from its Toulouse and Hamburg assembly plants.