An order placed by All Nippon Airways for up to 20 General Electric GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787s on Tuesday struck another blow to rival engine maker Rolls-Royce, whose troubled Trent 1000 powers 71 Dreamliners already in service at ANA. The decision by the Japanese airline to choose GE marks the second case of a Dreamliner operator switching from Rolls-Royce. Air New Zealand last summer chose alternative GEnx-1Bs to power eight incoming Boeing 787-10s after having to ground five of its 13 Boeing 787-9s due to premature turbine blade wear on the Trents.
ANA’s own problems with the Trent 1000 date back to 2016, when three engine failures caused by corrosion and cracking of intermediate turbine blades prompted it to replace the turbofans on all 50 of the 787s it had taken by then. By early last fall, the UK engine company acknowledged its efforts to replace all the turbine blades on the worldwide fleet would extend into the second quarter of this year.
Tuesday’s order confirmation by ANA calls for direct delivery from Boeing of eleven 787-10s and a single 787-9, while the final three on firm order will come via a lease deal with Atlantis Aviation. ANA also reserved an option on five 787-9s from Boeing. ANA expects delivery of the 787-10s—earmarked for domestic service—between its 2022 and 2024 fiscal years. It plans to place the 787-9s into international service starting in FY2024 and concluding the following year.
The order marks the first commercial sales activity for Boeing airliners this year.