After some fumbled early communications, Rolls-Royce has been relatively open about the ongoing issues affecting its Trent 1000 engines.
Unfortunately, such transparency also serves as reminder of how the manufacturer has consistently underestimated the scale of its problems.
In its latest trading update, Rolls-Royce predicts that Trent 1000 problems across all variants will cost it about £2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) from 2017-23, which is about £1 billion more than it forecast a little over a year ago.
Having certified fixes for the durability problems affecting Package B and C variants of the Trent 1000, Rolls is now focusing on the newest iteration, the Trent 1000 TEN.
Ironically it was this engine, which share just 25% parts commonality with earlier builds, that was supposed to put Trent 1000 problems to bed; instead, its issues appear to be among the most serious.
The OEM had hoped to start retrofitting a redesigned high-pressure turbine blade for the TEN from early 2020, only to announce this week that even the redesign “will not deliver a sufficient level of enhanced durability.”
As a result it has penciled in the retrofits for early 2021 and taken a £1.4 billion charge to operational profit this year.
According to Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East, the delay “will give our customers and ourselves a higher degree of certainty as we plan for the servicing of the fleet over the coming years.”
To ease any servicing bottlenecks, Rolls is planning a significant expansion of its MRO capacity for the Trent 1000. These plans include transitioning part of its sites in Dahlewitz and Montreal to become service hubs with the capability of handling Trent 1000 engine overhauls; the use of an additional test bed at Dallas-Fort Worth to support Trent 1000 engine tests; extra capacity at the OEM’s Derby headquarters; and a doubling of overhaul capacity at Heathrow.