LONDON—Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East suggested the company could miss its year-end target of reducing to single digits the number of Boeing 787s grounded with Trent 1000 engine issues.
Speaking to investors Aug. 6 as the company revealed its half-year results, East said that issues with the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades on the TEN-model Trent 1000 engine could impact the pace of returning aircraft to the air.
In April, Rolls agreed to a new inspection regime for Trent 1000 TEN engines powering the 787. Earlier inspections were prompted by the discovery of deterioration in the HPT blade in what the company called a “small population” of the TEN engines and followed Singapore Airlines’ decision to ground two of its 787-10s for inspections on the HPT blades.
East said the process of redesigning and certifying the HPT blades for the TEN engines, as well as performing overhaul and repair for the Pack B and C engines, meant “we are going to take a little longer to reach a position of single digit aircraft on the ground.”
“It is possible we can get there before the end of the year,” but the “polluting effect of the TEN might mean it takes longer,” he added.
The TEN is the latest version of the Trent 1000 and introduced new technologies to increase thrust and improve efficiency.
East said the issues with the Trent 1000 were still causing airline customers significant disruption, but “the health of the [Trent 1000] fleet is on a steady improvement ... the number of aircraft on ground is half what it was a year ago.”
Rolls’ financial documents indicate the impact of the Trent 1000 Pack B/C issues will cost the company around £450-500 million ($547-607 million) during 2019, a figure that will decline by £50-100 million in 2020.
The company said all the technical changes are expected to be fully embodied into the Trent 1000 Package B/C fleets by 2022.