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Air New Zealand suspends flying two 787s for engine repairs

written by WOFA | April 21, 2018
File image of an Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9. (Rob Finlayson)

Air New Zealand says it will have to remove two Boeing 787-9s from service for as long as “a number of months” while their Rolls-Royce Trent engines undergo repairs.

The Auckland-based Kiwi flag carrier says it has now completed checks on the Trent 1000 ‘Package C’ engines in its fleet following a European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) directive issued earlier this week that called for inspections of the engine’s compressors.

“As a result of the checks two Air New Zealand 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft will be temporarily removed from service while engines undergo maintenance work at a Rolls-Royce facility in Singapore,” the airline said in a statement on Saturday morning.

 “Around 340 engines globally are subject to the checks and this is placing very high demand on Rolls-Royce’s maintenance facility, meaning it may take a number of months before Air New Zealand’s engine repair work can be completed.”

Air New Zealand says it will have to make changes to flight times and operating aircraft on certain routes “in order to avoid further flight cancellations to the extent that is possible”.

“Unfortunately this will mean disruption for our customers in the coming months as we adjust our schedule and fleet utilisation to accommodate these challenges and we thank our customers for their patience as we work through this,” Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and standards officer David Morgan said.

The airline said it was considering once again wet-leasing aircraft from Portuguese operator Hi Fly for service entry next month.

VIDEO – a Rolls-Royce video statement explaining the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Package C issues, hosted on Radio New Zealand’s YouTube channel.

On April 13, EASA updated a previous airworthiness directive (AD) that was issued in December 2017 requiring more regular checks on the intermediate pressure compressor blades of Package C Trent 1000 engines.

“This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to inflight blade release, possibly resulting in reduced control of the aeroplane,” the EASA AD said.

In December, Air New Zealand had two incidents where 787-9 operated flights were forced to turn back due to what was at the time described as “abnormal indications on one of the engines”.

It then wet-leased two aircraft – an Airbus A330 and A340 – from Hi Fly as its 787-9s underwent maintenance checks. The Hi Fly aircraft have since been returned to their owner.

Air New Zealand wet leased an A330 (pictured) and an A340 to cover earlier disruptions to its 787-9 fleet. (Duncan Watkinson)

“Like Air New Zealand, aviation regulators prioritise safety over everything else and EASA and FAA have taken a very conservative approach in the checks and restrictions they’ve put in place around these engines,” Captain Morgan said.

“Customers travelling on our Dreamliner aircraft can be very confident in the integrity of the engines.”

Air New Zealand 787-9s powered by the newer Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines are unaffected by the AD. (Qantas Boeing 787-9s are powered by the GE Aviation GEnx engines.)


  • David walker


    I only book flights now on 787 ….
    Better to cancel then be on an A 330/340

  • Lyn O’Dea


    I am flying business on the 30th April, Perth to Los Angeles, will my flights be affected?

  • Doug bell


    A very good reason for retention of 4 engine ultra long haul aircraft. Perhaps the ultimate technology has not quite caught up with the demand, yet.

  • Glenn McTear


    Well done Air New Zealand. it’s great to see safety first over other priorities
    No wonder your one of the best

  • Michael Ayre


    I feel sorry for anyone having to fly with Hi Fly, worst 3 hours of my life. Our 787 was pulled for maintenance and ended up with Hi Fly, food was rubbish and seats in business class cramped, nothing like the Premium Economy we paid for.

  • Philip Lorquet


    GE engines are the best.

  • Martin


    Airlines deserve credit for doing what they can to arrange substitute flights, for whatever reason that may be. And that includes insufficient passengers since airlines are not a charity and need to be run on a sustainable basis.

  • Maree


    Hope all airlines follow Air New Zealand and put safety first. Well done NZ

  • william g field


    I have flown on the dream liner several times and love the experience. Will continue doing so.

  • the sky thru my eyes


    i think rolls royce should be paying for a wet lease aircraft like they are with latam

  • Mike


    @Michael Ayre, that’s interesting.
    I’d have thought that AirNewZealand would provide the catering for their HiFly leased aircraft. Maybe the ANZ B787 galley equipment is not compatible with the HiFly Airbus?
    One would think the actual food provided would be the same as ANZ’s offerings or very similar.
    Anyone know who does provide catering for the Air New Zealand leased flights?

  • Darren


    @Lyn O’Dea
    Air New Zealand or Qantas?
    I never knew that AirNZ 787s flew to LA

  • Noel


    Hi fly was crap. but we couldnt cancel as we had booked 6 mnths ahead. Any airline would have trouble competing with AirNz quality. I hope Rolls Royce is footing the bill

  • Tracy


    Hi fly never again

  • Mac Carter


    Have to agree with Doug Bells comment with respect to the need of having
    four engine aircraft flying long distance over water.
    A few extra tons of fuel is a hell of a lot cheaper than the loss of an aircraft and lives..

  • Roger Cook


    Having been on a Thai B787 when the RR engine hit these problems over Vietnam, I am sure AirNZ are doing the right thing.

  • Holden


    Do the current twins have a spare pylon capacity akin the the 5 engine 747?
    If not, I assume spare engines or those headed for remote servicing must either travel fitted the aircraft on a one-off ferry to Singapore, or travel as outsized cargo via other means like AN124?

  • Mark Barbeliuk


    I have to disagree about the HiFly substitute aircraft. Whilst the food isn’t up to Air NZ standards the comfort was exceptional. As a business class passenger I was seated in what was originally first class on the ex-Emirates A340. Premium economy was in the old business class which looked excellent. The fact a relatively small airline like AirNZ can put a contingency plan in place that’s an acceptable substitute is credit to them. My biggest beef is the end of the VA – AirNZ alliance. From a passenger perspective it was a wonderful alliance, especially from a frequent flyer perspective.

  • Mal


    I flew Hi Fly to Perth and while not the same standard as NZ, it was an acceptable alternative. Food was all Air NZ catering so no change there. Hi Fly crew were great and we had Air NZ Ambassadors on board. Pop up boxes during the booking process, follow up emails and a reminder email 3 days before travel all did a great job of containing expectation. Good job in a tough situation would be my summation.

  • Say no!


    Oh no! demand a refund. dont fly with Hi Fly unless you enjoy faulty entertainment systems / chairs, dirty seating including rubbish from previous passengers and poor service.

  • lee c


    Bring back the 767’s temporarily?

Comments are closed.


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