Rolls-Royce planning to swap engines

Media Source, 16-11-2010 19:04:01

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ROLLS-ROYCE is planning a new-for-old engine swap scheme as pressure mounts for a quick fix to the Airbus A380 engine crisis.

The company has asked Airbus to return new engines from the aircraft assembly line in Toulouse, France so they can be forwarded to airlines for temporary swaps, the Associated Press reported, citing an official from an aviation regulator.

Rolls-Royce will then fix the parts leaking oil and swap the engine back.

The official, who has been briefed by Rolls-Royce and some of the affected airlines, spoke on condition of anonymity.

A photograph circulating on the internet yesterday purporting to be a shot of the inside of the wing of the Qantas A380 that suffered the midair engine explosion shows a structural spar blown almost apart and wiring looms severed.

But aeronautical and aerospace engineers could not confirm the veracity of the photograph, and neither could Airbus or Qantas.

Rolls-Royce declined to comment publicly on the engine-swap plan.

Its head spokesman in London, Josh Rosenstock, would not answer questions put to him, referring matters to a public relations firm specialising in ’’reputation management’’.

A question only Rolls-Royce can answer is why it improved the design and components within the latest Trent 900 engines to prevent oil leaks - an oil fire is the suspected cause of QF32’s engine explosion - yet leave unmodified the early series engines already in use on A380 aircraft.

Qantas’s A380 fleet has been grounded for 14 days, with no end in sight.

’’Over a period of time, it is likely we will replace the relevant module on all engines,’’ Rolls-Royce said in an email to Bloomberg. ’’We seek to minimise disruptions and this program will enable our customers progressively to bring the whole fleet back into service.’’


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