Ouch. CNN broke news that All Nippon Airways, one of the largest airlines based in Japan is having issues with it’s fleet of Boeing 787s. The issue, more specifically lies with the engines, and the report states that ANA to replace all 787 engines.
The airline currently has 50 787’s in service, including both the -8 and -9 variants, which is the largest fleet in the world. That means ANA will need to replace 100 engines! ANA optioned their 787s with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s, and the issue seems to be specific to this engine only; 787s equipped with GE GENx engines are not affected. The problem plaguing ANA appears to be one of corrosion, namely of the turbine blades. According to the airline, cracks have formed on the blades themselves and have forced two flights to return to the airport. Overall, the issues has caused about 18 flight cancellations, with more possible in the near future. The article didn’t specify whether or not the cracks caused a drastic un-contained failure or simply loss of power.
As a temporary fix, Rolls-Royce and ANA will be replacing the turbine blades on their affects aircraft. A long-term solution, however, is still in the works. It isn’t clear either, what the precise cause of the corrosion is (salty, humid air in the region?) or if the newer Trent 1000 TEN is affected. That newer engine just received EASA certification in July of this year.
ANA states the complete re-enging of it’s entire fleet will take up to 3 years. 5 engines have already been swapped, but expect more cancelled flights for the time being.