Rolls-Royce admits Trent 1000 blade issues to prolong groundings

Rolls-Royce is facing yet another stumbling block in the way of solving its intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade problems on the Trent 1000 engines. Having previously announced being “about to fix” the issue, the manufacturer now is pushing back the date of when grounded aircraft numbers could return to a single-digit level.

In the past two months, Rolls-Royce accelerated defective intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade replacements with final standard ones on a “limited number” of Package B and C engines, which has led to more engine removals, the engine manufacturer explains in a statement on September 20, 2019.

Thus, the return to “single-digit level” of Trent 1000 powered aircraft on ground is now expected to be delayed until the second quarter of 2020.

Issues related to the high pressure turbine (HPT) blade on Trent 1000 TEN engines also remain a “challenge”, according to the company. As it had previously warned, the problem caused an additional MRO load, which means that the rate of un-grounding aircraft affected by Trent 1000 problems is “likely to be slower” than previously planned.

In August 2019, upon revealing 2019 half year financial results, the manufacturer stated that the number of aircraft grounded due to Trent 1000 problems was decreasing “slightly below our original plans”.

At the time it also explained thatTrent 1000 TEN HPT problem was being managed “through proactive inspections”, while new blade design and certification was “underway”. “We have made good progress on resolving the Trent 1000 compressor issue, though regretfully, customer disruption remains,” Warren East, Chief Executive was quoted in a statement as saying.

Unusual corrosion in Trent 1000 intermediate-pressure turbine (IPT) blades was detected in early 2016. The problem results in early wear and cracking on Trent 1000 Package C engines. Two years later, in June 2018, it was discovered that the Package B was affected too. In January 2019, early wear of the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blade of Trent 1000 TEN was also detected, prompting for more inspections.



Image: Steve Mann /