Rolls-Royce needs more time to fix the problem with Trent 1000 TEN high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades. On November 7, the company said it has postponed delivery of the first redesigned blades until 2021.
In April this year, Rolls-Royce acknowledged it had a new problem on its hands with the Trent 1000 TEN. HPT blades on Boeing 787-8s, 9s, and 10s had shown higher than expected wear and needed frequent inspection within 1000 cycles.
In August, CEO Warren East said a redesign had been done but contrary to expectations this still showed unacceptable wear. Another redesign was announced for late 2019 but this has now slipped until 2021.
In a statement today, East is quoted as saying: “We have now identified that it (the redesigned HPT blade – RS) will not deliver a sufficient level of enhanced durability and as such we are being prudent in assuming that an improved blade is unlikely to be ready before the first half of 2021. Through our work, we have significantly improved our understanding of the issue. We are now able to reset our financial and operational expectations for the Trent 1000 TEN on the basis of a subsequent final HPT design, with a more conservative durability estimate that we are confident we can deliver.”
Rolls-Royce expects to have to make a GBP 1.4 billion exceptional charge related to the TEN-blade issue in FY2019, consisting mainly of compensation costs to Trent-operators as their aircraft and engines have to be removed from service.
Trent-issues also include that of the Package B and C-versions. In total nine fixes for the three Trent 1000 versions are necessary, of which seven have been certified and only the TEN HPT-blades need to be redesigned. The delay means that the Trent 7000 that powers the Airbus A330neo will get a planned modification later than scheduled.
To reduce disruptions to airlines, Rolls will significantly increase the number of spare engines, grow maintenance, repair, and overhaul and provide additional overhaul-capacity in Dahlewitz, Montreal, London, and Derby. A dedicated Trent 1000-testbed will become available at Dallas Forth Worth, complimentary to the facility used in Derby.
Rolls-Royce expects Trent 1000-related cash costs between 2017-2023 to hit GBP 2.4 billion or 400 million more, an amount previously included within normal annual program contingencies. Cash impact for this year is expected to be GBP 500 million this year and another 450-550 million in 2020, before declining from 2021. Rolls revised its full-year guidance to the lower ranges of its previously mentioned GBP 700 million.