Did Rolls-Royce know A380 engines could explode?

By danwarne, November 22 2010
Did Rolls-Royce know A380 engines could explode?

Rolls Royce knew about problems in its A380 engines months before Qantas' one exploded, but didn't tell the airline -- or the aircraft maker Airbus -- Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has alleged.

Joyce's comments were based on the revelation by Airbus executive John Leahy that Lufthansa's A380 came off the production line with modified Rolls Royce engines, allowing the airline to continue flying the superjumbo safely throughout the period of the A380/Rolls Royce crisis.

Meanwhile, Qantas and Singapore Airlines were left flying planes with the older design engines.

Speaking at the Sydney Airport launch of Qantas' next-generation check-in, Joyce commented that "if this was significant, and was known to be significant, we would have liked to have known about that."

Airbus' Leahy has commented that Alan Joyce and Qantas operations chief Lyell Strambi were "more than a little upset by a lack of statements from Rolls'" in the weeks following the engine explosion.

Lufthansa said it noticed that one of four engines on its A380 was the older version of the Trent 900, suggesting Rolls Royce changed production midway through the building of Lufthansa's A380. This is why Lufthansa only had to swap one engine on its A380 as a precautionary measure, with the aircraft going back into service straight away.

Qantas is reportedly discussing the option of pulling new engines from A380s still being built on the Airbus production line in order to get its fleet flying as soon as possible.

Rolls Royce was unavailable to immediately respond to the claims when contacted by Australian Business Traveller. However, in recent public statements, it has confirmed that it will need to replace around 40 engines worldwide.

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