Rolls-Royce said it would expand service capacity, reduce turnaround time, develop innovative inspection techniques and accelerate new part introduction to fix problems with Trent 1000 engines that have grounded Boeing Dreamliner planes.
They added that the changes would, however, not raise the cost of the work.
The company said in a response that with an aim to reduce the operational impact on customers, it has been responding with a range of activities to support customers experiencing disruption as a result of the requirement for increased inspections on Trent 1000 Package C engines.
Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said, “We fully recognise the unacceptable levels of disruption our customers are facing. We are intensely focused on minimising this and we have set our teams the challenge of doing everything we can to recover our customers’ operations as swiftly as possible. We are drawing on the full resources of Rolls-Royce to address the issue and I’ve seen great teamwork and innovative thinking both across our organisation and in our partnership with Boeing.”
Since the Airworthiness Directive mandating additional intermediate compressor inspections was introduced in April 2018, the company said it has been able to treble the number of affected engines we are able to work on at any point. “This has been achieved through the development of lean workscope methods, which allow us to reduce the time an engine spends in maintenance, and the opening of further MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) ‘lines’ which provide the physical location for this work to take place. The majority of work takes place in facilities in Singapore, Heathrow and Derby, UK and plans to further increase this capacity are being developed. We are also working with other members of our MRO Authorised Maintenance Centre network to increase flexibility,” state the company response.
In addition to supporting customers through improved service support, Rolls Royce is also accelerating the development of the permanent fix to the Intermediate Pressure Compressor rotor issue seen on Package C engines. The revised compressor blade has been installed in a test engine and will begin testing in early June. The company aims to have first parts available for engine overhaul in late 2018, rather than 2019 as originally planned.
“Our engineering and design team has been able to accelerate the development of the new blade through a combination of the latest computing capability, ‘fast make’ competencies within our supply chain, and the development of a dedicated facility in Derby, UK, to build engines on which the blades will be tested,” said the statement.
Additionally, the company said it has developed new on-wing inspection techniques to support airlines in meeting the requirements of the Airworthiness Directives as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Chris Cholerton added, “While we have made important progress in supporting our customers, there is clearly more to do and we will not rest until we have ensured the engine meets the high standards our customers rightly expect. Our teams remain focused on the task in hand and while we expect the number of aircraft affected to rise in the short term, as the deadline for the completion of initial inspections approaches, we are confident that we have the right building blocks in place to tackle the additional workload this will create.”
The company’s assessment of the financial implications of Trent 1000 Package C in-service issues remains unchanged and consistent with their announcement on 13th April 2018.