DERBY — Aero-engineer Rolls-Royce said it was playing a “long game” on winning orders to power Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner after fixing most issues with its Trent 1000 engine, even though one final modification had been pushed out to next year.
Chris Cholerton, president civil aerospace, said Rolls took a “huge reputational hit” with the disruption to customers but it could win back trust.
“If you actually strip out the issues that it has experienced, the underlying reliability of the engine is no different to any other Trent; it is extremely good,” he said at the company’s civil aerospace base in Derby, East Midlands.
Cracks in some Trent 1000 blades were discovered in 2016 which, compounded by other durability issues, saw aircraft grounded for repairs until 2020.
Cholerton said seven of nine issues were solved, and one of the final two, related to a compressor on one variant, would be fully certified by year-end.
“The last remaining change is the high pressure turbine blade on the TEN variant, which frustratingly is delayed, so it is going to be the middle of next year,” he said.
Rolls’ share on the 787 engines, where it competes with General Electric’s GEnx, is 35%.
“It’s long game here, it won’t be fixed overnight,” he said. “The 787 is a great aircraft, we need to have a significant role on it.”
Cholerton, speaking ahead of the Farnborough Airshow, said airlines were starting to think about fleet renewals, with “a lot more interest around potential widebody campaigns starting again now, some of them active today.”
He said the pandemic had accelerated restructuring at Rolls, with its cost base cut by a third.
“I am very confident a lot of costs we took out through the pandemic and prior to that will stay out and we will grow more efficiently on the recovery,” he said. (Reporting by Paul Sandle Editing by Chris Reese)