Rolls-Royce hit by further setback to fixing Boeing 787 engines

As of late February, Rolls-Royce said 35 Boeing 787s were grounded globally due to engine blades corroding or cracking prematurely. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2019

Rolls-Royce hit by further setback to fixing Boeing 787 engines

  • The company faces £1.6 billion ($2 billion) in extra costs and disruption as a result of the engine problem
  • As of late February, Rolls said 35 787s were grounded globally due to engine blades corroding or cracking prematurely

Rolls-Royce will take longer than expected to fix problems with its Trent 1000 engine, frustrating efforts to get Boeing 787s grounded by the glitch flying again and knocking the British company’s shares.
Rolls-Royce, whose engines power large civil and military planes, said on Friday it had sped up turbine blade replacement for some models, leading to additional removals and delaying a reduction in the number of grounded aircraft to single figures until the second quarter of 2020.
The company faces £1.6 billion ($2 billion) in extra costs and disruption as a result of the engine problem, which is due to the poor durability of components, and the latest delay spells further frustration for its customers and investors.
Rolls-Royce, whose customers include more than 400 airlines, 160 armed forces and 70 navies, said in August that it would spend another £100 million to fix the issue.
“We perceived a risk that further action would be required, potentially leading to higher costs being incurred ... today’s announcement that guidance for the Trent 1000 cash costs in 2019 and 2020 remains unchanged comes as a relief,” Jefferies analysts, who rate the stock as “buy,” said.
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said in August that a target of fewer than 10 aircraft on the ground at the end of the year might take a bit longer to achieve as a result of an additional repair load resulting from faster deterioration of a blade on the Trent 1000 TEN.
The Trent 1000 TEN is the latest version of an engine that has had a problematic entry into service. As of late February, Rolls said 35 787s were grounded globally due to engine blades corroding or cracking prematurely.
“We deeply regret the additional disruption that this will cause our customers and we continue to work closely with them to minimize the impact on their operations,” Rolls-Royce said.
Airlines have faced disruptions because of the groundings, with Norwegian Air’s strategy switch to prioritize profits over growth hampered by the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft and long-running problems with Rolls-Royce’s engines on Boeing Dreamliners.
Singapore Airlines has also grounded two 787-10 jets fitted with the Trent 1000 TEN engines.
Rolls-Royce is keen to avoid further problems with the engine and in March dropped out of the race to power Boeing’s planned mid-market aircraft.


Oil prices fall but losses limited by Brexit deal hopes

Updated 25 min 9 sec ago

Oil prices fall but losses limited by Brexit deal hopes

  • US retail sales in September fell for the first time in seven months adding to economy fears

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Thursday as industry data showed a larger than expected increase in US inventories but losses were limited after Britain and the EU announced they had reached a deal on Brexit.

Global benchmark Brent crude was down 37 cents at $59.05 in afternoon London trade while US WTI crude was also down 37 cents, at $52.99.

US crude inventories soared by 10.5 million barrels to 432.5 million barrels in the week to Oct. 11, the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report showed, ahead of official government stocks data.

Analysts had estimated US crude inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels last week.

“US sanctions imposed on Chinese shipping company COSCO are seriously denting demand for imported crude ... This has a profound impact on US crude oil inventories as reflected in last night’s API report,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates.

“US refinery maintenance is not helping to reverse the current trend and further builds in US crude oil inventories can be expected in the next few weeks.”

The US imposed sanctions on COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) and subsidiary COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management for allegedly carrying Iranian oil.

Adding to concerns about the global economy — and therefore oil demand — data from the US showed retail sales in September fell for the first time in seven months. Earlier data showed a moderation in job growth and services sector activity.

Nevertheless, Brexit developments helped limit oil’s decline. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain and the EU had agreed a “great” new deal and urged lawmakers to approve it when they meet for a special session at the weekend.

Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and oil demand.

However, the Northern Irish party whose support Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement, has said that it refused to support the pact.

Hopes of a potential US-China trade deal also supported oil. The commerce ministry in Beijing said China hoped to reach a phased agreement with Washington as early as possible.

But the German government has lowered its 2020 forecast for economic growth to 1 percent from 1.5 percent, the economy ministry said. It said Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was not facing a crisis.