Rolls-Royce faces more engine problems as it plans job cuts

New faults with Boeing 787 engines could cause disruption for BA and other airlines

Rolls-Royce has discovered new problems with its troubled Trent 1000 engines, which power Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, triggering fresh safety fears and potential disruption for airlines including British Airways and Norwegian.

The aircraft engine maker said a problem affecting compressor durability had been found in another type of Trent 1000 engines and would require inspections of its 166 “package B” engines, some of which have been in service since 2012. The problem means parts wear out faster than expected.

Rolls-Royce has been trying to fix durability faults with “package C” versions of the engine.

Some aircraft powered by Trent 1000 engines have been grounded, leading to flight cancellations and forcing airlines such as Virgin Atlantic to lease other aircraft.

The company warned that fixing the latest problem will result in additional costs, although it is still expecting to generate about £450m in cash this year. It is cutting jobs and reducing non-essential spending on travel and IT upgrades to offset the impact of the engine faults.

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The Rolls-Royce chief executive. Warren East. is expected to announce a shake-up of the business, including more than 4,000 job losses, on Friday, when the company holds an investor day in London. The firm has indicated that it is cutting middle-management posts rather than frontline engineering jobs, without putting a number on the planned redundancies. Some analysts have pencilled in a reduction of up to 10% of Rolls-Royce’s 50,000 workforce.

Rolls-Royce had initially put the cost of fixing the “package C” engines at £370m but indicated in April that figure would rise with the cost of replacing more parts and paying airlines compensation. Analysts have put the bill at up to £1bn.

Chris Cholerton, the Rolls-Royce president of civil aerospace, said: “We are working closely with our customers to minimise any operational impact of these inspections and we deeply appreciate their continued co-operation. We remain absolutely committed to eliminating this issue from the Trent 1000 fleet.”


Julia Kollewe

The GuardianTramp

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