Singapore Airlines has found premature blade deterioration on some Rolls-Royce Trent TEN turbofans powering its Boeing 787-10s, forcing the carrier to ground two of the biggest Dreamliners. The airline said it found the problem during routine inspections and has “proactively identified” other Trent 1000 TEN engines in the group’s 787 fleet to undergo precautionary inspections. It has completed all inspections on the mainline’s 787-10 fleet and plans to finish a remaining check on a 787-9 flown by low-cost subsidiary Scoot by tomorrow.
The removal from service of the two airplanes has affected some destinations served by the 787-10, said SIA, which added that it would operate other aircraft on those services to minimize schedule disruptions. It cautioned, however, that because the replacement airplanes might carry less capacity, some passengers might experience travel "inconveniences."
“SIA is working closely with Rolls-Royce and the relevant authorities for any additional follow-up actions and precautionary measures that may be required going forward,” said the airline.
Last year durability concerns centering on the TEN’s precursor—the Trent 1000—prompted the UK engine maker to further reduce the life of intermediate-pressure turbine blades in certain Package C engines to avoid premature failure. Company guidance to operators issued last September required removal of some 30 to 40 engines sooner than expected. That problem did not affect most of the population of Package C engines, however, because Rolls already had fitted a new standard of blade in them as part of an earlier effort to mitigate durability deficiencies.
That snag involving the Trent 1000 came less than three months after Rolls launched a “precautionary” redesign in the intermediate-pressure compressor in the Package B and Trent 1000 TEN engines, adding another dimension to a saga that began in mid-2016 with the well-publicized afflictions involving Package C engines in Boeing 787s operated by All Nippon Airways. Since the problems first came to light, some 15 airlines felt some effect, most notably ANA, LATAM, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Norwegian, and Air New Zealand.