Rolls Royce is in the spotlight over oil leaks in Trent 900 engine affect Singapore Airlines and Qantas.
|Singapore Airlines is switching three of its A380 engines as a “precautionary” measure [EPA]|
Singapore Airlines says it will be changing its A380 Rolls Royce engines in the wake of the incident during a Qantas flight.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced on Wednesday that it plans to switch the engines on three of its Airbus A380 planes as a “precautionary” measure after finding oil stains on them, almost a week after Qantas, its Australian rival, grounded its own A380 fleet due to an engine failure.
“Based on further analysis of inspection findings as the investigation into last week’s incident involving another operator’s Airbus A380 is progressing, Singapore Airlines will be carrying out precautionary engine changes on three A380s,” the carrier said in a statement.
Lufthansa, a German airline, also said it would change one of its three Airbus A380 planes following talks with Rolls-Royce.
“This has nothing to do with oil leaks detected in engines of Qantas and Singapore Airlines” a spokesman for the airline told the AFP news agency.
Qantas’s six A380s have been grounded for nearly a week, when a Rolls Royce engine partly disintegrated mid-flight, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.
The incident has triggered investigations into oil leaks inside the Rolls Royce Trent engines – the same model used to power Singapore Airlines’ A380 fleet.
Rolls Royce moved to limit the crisis of confidence on Monday, saying it was making progress in finding out what caused last week’s blowout on the Qantas flight.
Singapore Airlines said the oil stains were unrelated to the Qantas problems.
“We apologise to our customers for flights disruptions that may result,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
Singapore Airlines said the three A380s would be equipped with new engines of the same model, with a minor variation. A380 flights out of Melbourne and Sydney were cancelled on Wednesday.
Qantas said last week that a design flaw could be to blame for the engine explosion on a Sydney-bound flight.
Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst for Standard and Poor, said the ongoing problems with the engines would give the Airbus A380’s reputation “a bit of a dent, given this is the flagship carrier of SIA, Emirates and other airlines”.
“The incident has been detrimental to the image of the A380s and casts a shadow on the residual value of the aircraft… given that it is relatively new in the market,” he said.
Rolls Royce shares have tumbled since the Qantas A380 plane was forced to make its emergency landing in Singapore.
On Tuesday, the British firm – which had kept a low profile since the incident last week – said they were making progress in understanding the cause of the blowout.
“It is now clear this incident is specific to the Trent 900 engine,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“As a result, a series of checks and inspections has been agreed with Airbus, with operators of the Trent 900 powered A380 and with the airworthiness authorities,” it added.
“These are being progressively completed, which is allowing a resumption of operation of aircraft in full compliance with all safety standards”.