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Extra Maintenance on Some Rolls-Royce Engines Wreak Havoc on Air New Zealand’s Summer Schedule

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Air New Zealand announced significant changes to their summer schedule on Monday due to maintenance issues with some Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN model engines.

Air New Zealand B787-10 Dreamliner - Image Courtesy Boeing

On Monday, Air New Zealand announced that around 14,000 customers would be impacted by flight cancellations due to an increase in maintenance frequency on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN model engines that power some of their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Regrettably, Rolls-Royce doesn’t have any replacement engines available and they have advised Air New Zealand that there would be a significant wait time for repairs. The problematic engines require more frequent inspections over issues with their high-pressure turbine blades. Since the airline has 10 of the engines fitted to their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, schedule changes have become impossible to avoid as the vital engine inspections and repairs are carried out.

Some of the substantial schedule changes announced today include the suspension of twice-weekly seasonal service on the Christchurch-Perth route and cancellation of the second daily Auckland-Perth flight from December 10, 2019 through January 5, 2020. Select international flights have also been cancelled as noted on the chart accompanying this article.

Flight Cancellations (Local NZ Time) - Data Courtesy Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand will begin processing changes this week and will then contact impacted customers with new travel information. Customers who booked through traditional or online travel agents will be contacted by the booking agent directly. Since last April, Air New Zealand has been performing cautionary checks on the TEN engines and is trying to fast-track the required Rolls-Royce maintenance. In Monday’s announcement, Air New Zealand’s Senior Fleet Manager and 787 Captain, Dave Wilson said,

“Based on the maintenance needs of our engines, we expect some will need to be inspected in December and January and then serviced by Rolls-Royce offshore and unfortunately, Rolls-Royce has no capacity to alleviate this pressure. We have 14 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in our fleet and four spare engines to power these. However, all these spare engines are with Rolls-Royce offshore either undergoing service or waiting for a service slot.”

Since December 2017, Air New Zealand has been dealing with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN model engine issues, even leasing aircraft to maintain schedules. Also commenting on today’s announcement, Air New Zealand’s Senior Manager - Customer Care and Communications, Doug Grant stated,

"Going into the holiday season we’re acutely aware how important travel is to our customers, and our schedule changes are designed to keep cancellations to a minimum. Unfortunately, around 14,000 customers will be impacted by cancellations and we thank them in advance for their understanding.”

Air New Zealand currently has one widebody on lease from EVA Air to help maintain its timetable. The engine maintenance issues do not impact the airline’s 22 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Package C model engines.

Source: Air New Zealand


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