Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced that after a series of faults and inflight incidents, the company will replace all of the engines on it’s fleet of fifty Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
ANA has been the launch customer of the 787 and was plagued from the beginning by delays and later a problem with a battery fire in 2013 that lead to the temporary grounding of the B787 aircraft.
This most recent issue concerns a total of 100 Rolls Royce engines that are attached to ANA’s Dreamliner fleet. The type of engine is typically selected by the airline based on their preference and individual specifications so it’s common that the same aircraft type is equipped with different engines from different manufacturers.
CNN Money (access here) reported on the measure taken by ANA.
ANA says it will replace the engines on its fleet of Boeing 787s after a series of engine failures caused by corrosion and fatigue cracking of turbine blades.
The Japanese airline plans to swap out all 100 Rolls-Royce engines currently used on its 50 Dreamliners. The process could take as long as three years, according to spokesman Yoichi Uchida.
ANA said the engine faults have already led to two cases where an aircraft was forced to return to its departure airport — Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. Similar issues affected a third flight in August.
Some of the cracks are the result of corrosion caused by chemicals in the atmosphere. ANA said the problem gets worse as an aircraft completes more flights.
The airline has already been forced to cancel 18 flights because of the problem, and more could be affected later this month.
For now, the engines will be upgraded with brand new turbine blades. Meanwhile, ANA said it is working with Rolls-Royce to find a more permanent solution. Five engines have already been repaired with new turbines.
The consequences for ANA and their passengers are serious considering the planes have now been in operation for quite some time, and as per the assessment of the airline, the frequency issues will increase rather than decrease with age.
ANA was not very lucky with the 787 especially since they now operate so many of these aircraft and rely heavily on them as the backbone of their fleet.
Hopefully the issue will be resolved soon and Rolls Royce can present the airline with a proper solution that will take care of these problems before something serious happens or another grounding is required.