When engine issues disrupt operations, it’s rare for airlines to publically voice annoyance with the manufacturers. Instead, they mention ongoing “cooperation” to resolve the matter, whereas following compensation talks privately.
Often, even massive issues won’t deter an airline from ordering additional of the manufacturer’s equipment, since they’ve already committed to their existing fleets and have the support infrastructure in place for future purchases. Air New Zealand, however, has evidently had its fill of setbacks from the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and has ordered the rival GEnx1-B to power its latest order for eight Boeing 787-10s.
The aircraft is set to replace eight 777-200s powered by Trent 800 engines and will supplement the flag carrier’s existing fleet of thirteen 787-9s, which use the Trent 1000.
Air NZ was one of many international carriers forced to ground aircraft over Trent 1000 issues, which are estimated to have cost it about $25 million so far. The airline had to lease 3 aircraft to fill the gap in schedules from the grounded aircraft.
The airline might have hoped that engine issues were behind it as it began to take delivery of the new Trent 1000 ten, a model that shares only 25% parts commonality with earlier builds, and was supposed to mark a clean break with mistakes of the past. In April, sadly, Rolls-Royce announced an accelerated inspection program for the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades on the TEN, following an earlier communication to airlines that the engine’s HPT blades would not last as long as publicised.
“We sincerely regret the disruption this accelerated inspection regime will cause and we are doing everything we can to support our customers,” said Chis Cholerton, Rolls-Royce’s president, civil aerospace, in an apology issued to Boeing 787 operators.
Air New Zealand’s order for eight GEnx-powered 787-10s comes with 12 options and the right to swap orders for the smaller 787-9. First deliveries from the new order are planned for 2022. Air New Zealand has said that all future 787’s will be powered by GEnx engines, even if more 787-9 orders are placed.