European safety regulators ease off inspections of A380's Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines

By Rahul Raja, December 22 2010

Aviation safety regulators from Europe’s EASA are seemingly more confident about the safety capabilities of Rolls-Royce’s Trent 900 engine, following an announcement that special high-frequency inspections of the engine would be eased off. 

The Trent 900 engine previously suffered an uncontained failure on a Qantas A380 flight in early November, which was then forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore. 

Following the Trent 900’s failure on Qantas’ A380, EASA imposed a rigorous inspection schedule of the engine, requiring it to be inspected after every 20 flights. The frequent inspections were disrupting airline schedules for Qantas, as well as Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, who also use the Trent 900 engine in their own A380s but have yet to experience a similar failure to Qantas. 

Now, EASA has mandated that inspections of the engine will be eased off to every 100 flights - suggesting that the European agency is much more confident in the safety credentials of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine than it was one month ago. 

The investigation into what caused the uncontained failure to the Trent 900 engine is still continuing, but so far blame has been placed on a manufacturing defect in an oil-supply tube. Subsequent inspections to other fitted Trent 900 engines suggest that the problem is actually not as extensive as first believed, and that only a few aircraft may even be affected. 

The news will be a welcome relief to travellers that have booked flights on the A380, with disruptions to airline schedules expected to become less bothersome.

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