Signs of wear on some Rolls Royce Trent engines powering the Airbus A350-900 have been detected, as an inspection of the installed engines is underway. The engine manufacturer downplays the importance of this new problem.
Barely recovered from the problems of the Trent 1000 of the Boeing 787, which cost him several billion euros, the British engine manufacturer revealed on August 10, 2020, a new bone, this time on the reactors of the competitor Airbus A350: signs of wear in the intermediate pressure compressor (IPC) of some Trent XWB-84s were detected during inspections as part of the scheduled visits about five and after entry into service. According to the Rolls Royce press release, the problem only concerns « a small number of engines that have been in service for four to five years, and which are approaching their first overhaul. None of these engines have experienced abnormal flight performance, but we are inspecting all other Trent XWB-84 engines with a lifespan similar to that of the precautionary measure. »
Currently, just over 100 Trent XWB-84s have been in service for four to five years, says RR, who says he has inspected « the majority of them » and found signs of wear « on average over only 1 or 2. IPC blades, in a minority of those inspected ”(21 engines concerned according to some sources). The engine manufacturer also « as a precaution » sampled a number of « younger » Trent XWB-84s, in which « no unexpected wear » was found.
Rolls Royce does not anticipate that this problem will « create a significant disruption or a tangible annual cost » to airlines operating the A350-900, given the limited extent of additional work required during routine visits, and the availability of spare parts and spare engines. « We are providing this update to address any potential speculation that may arise from an Airworthiness Directive (AD) to be issued by our regulatory body, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)… ADs are a common tool used by aviation regulators to ensure necessary inspection and maintenance procedures are followed, ”the statement said.
According to Chris Cholerton, President of Rolls Royce – Civil Aerospace, the Trent XWB-84 « had the smoothest commissioning of any widebody engine we have developed. » It is the « world’s most efficient in-service large aircraft engine, with unmatched reliability under the wing, » he added. The engines being overhauled « have traveled the equivalent of 350 times around the world, without unscheduled maintenance. It is reassuring that our proactive inspection regime has enabled us to quickly identify and resolve this problem and minimize any potential impact on our customers.