Air New Zealand cancels flights after 'events' involving Rolls-Royce engines

Air New Zealand Ltd said Rolls-Royce did not have spare engines available while the maintenance work was being undertaken, meaning it would be focused on finding replacement aircraft
Air New Zealand Ltd said Rolls-Royce did not have spare engines available while the maintenance work was being undertaken, meaning it would be focused on finding replacement aircraft PHOTO: REUTERS

WELLINGTON - Air New Zealand Ltd said on Thursday (Dec 7) "two recent events" involving Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines had prompted it to cancel and delay some international flights over the coming weeks, making it the latest airline to experience problems, Reuters reported.

Engines on its Boeing Co 787-9 jets would now require early maintenance, it said.

Rolls-Royce told investors in August that 400 to 500 Trent 1000 engines were affected by issues with components wearing out earlier than expected, according to a conference call transcript.

Air New Zealand did not disclose the nature of the two events, but the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission said it was investigating two events involving "engine abnormalities" on Air New Zealand aircraft this week, Reuters said.

The Aviation Herald reported on Tuesday that an Auckland-Tokyo flight had returned to its base after take-off due to an engine issue, while plane tracking website FlightRadar24 said a flight to Buenos Aires had returned to Auckland on Wednesday.

Japan's ANA Holdings Inc and Britain's Virgin Atlantic have also reported issues with the engines over the past 18 months, Reuters said.

Singapore Airlines' long-haul budget subsidiary Scoot flies Boeing 787 aircraft with Rolls-Royce engines. Singapore Airlines has Boeing 787-10 planes on order and is set to receive its first 787-10 next year.

In response to questions from The Straits Times, a Singapore Airlines spokesman said: "The engines on the Boeing 787-10 planes ordered by Singapore Airlines are fitted with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-TEN engines, which are different from those mentioned facing this issue."

A Scoot spokesman said: "Scoot has an engine maintenance and check programme in place with Rolls Royce which is subject to regular reviews. Lessons derived where applicable, will be incorporated."

Air New Zealand said Rolls-Royce did not have spare engines available while the maintenance work was being undertaken, meaning it would be focused on finding replacement aircraft capacity.

Rolls-Royce said it was working with Air New Zealand to minimise disruption and restore full flight operations as soon as possible.

"It's not uncommon for long-term engine programmes to experience technical issues during their life and we manage them through proactive maintenance," Reuters quoted a Rolls-Royce spokesman as saying.

Air New Zealand said it did not anticipate any change to current earnings guidance at this stage.

- Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah