Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engine for the A350 has had a remarkably smooth entry into service compared with that of the Trent 1000, which began commercial operations in 2011.
Since then the engine has received several performance improvement packages designed to rectify fuel burn and reliability issues, but problems in the active fleet still persist.
In its second-quarter earnings, Rolls-Royce recognized a £59 million charge relating to technical costs, just less than half of which has stemmed from fixes for the Trent 1000.
While fuel burn issues have now been rectified, durability problems with certain components remain. Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East told analysts last week that 400 to 500 engines were affected.
“You have a design life and you expect to replace those components, and it turns out on inspection that we had to replace them sooner rather than later. And that's what causes the extra costs. It's the extra cost of physically the parts and also the operational cost of putting them in,” he says.
East adds that such problems are the price that OEMs often have to pay when introducing new technologies to lower fuel burn, although the Trent 1000’s problems appear particularly severe.
And he hopes that lessons learned from the Trent 1000’s missteps will feed into a smoother debut for its successor, The Trent 1000 TEN, which should enter service before the end of the year.
“We believe that, with the Trent 1000 TEN, the one that is coming into service at the end of this year, we have addressed all the issues that have been identified,” he says.