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Current as of 02/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air NZ acts after Air Nippon Dreamliners are grounded

An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at Auckland Airport. Photo / Peter Meecham
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at Auckland Airport. Photo / Peter Meecham

Air New Zealand is putting in "proactive systems" for its Dreamliner fleet after problems were identified in engines of the same aircraft type operated by Japanese carrier ANA.

Air New Zealand operates seven of the planes and says it is aware of a technical issue that has affected some Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 aircraft engines operated by other international carriers.

It says that in partnership with Rolls-Royce, and with the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority, the airline has put proactive systems in place to manage the issue.
All Nippon Airlines (ANA) has grounded planes to replace compressor blades in the aircraft's Trent 1000 engines.

ANA has 49 Dreamliners in service.

The airline uses its 787s for short hauls which means engines go through more "cycles" than other operators, so are put under more pressure than engines on planes used on longer routes. This accelerates the amount of servicing they need.

Air New Zealand said it operated its 787 fleet differently to many other airlines in that they fly on long haul sectors rather than the multiple short haul sectors that others such as ANA tend to do.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft in its class with systems to monitor and capture flight data electronically, according to an airline spokeswoman.

"Rolls-Royce is able to use the performance data of the aircraft to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, which engines are likely to experience this issue and is working closely with carriers around the world, including Air New Zealand, to proactively manage the rotation and repair of engines while they are still at optimal performance."

Half the worldwide Boeing 787-9 fleet is fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the airline said.

CAA said staff have been in continual direct liaison on this issue with the airline's engineering and flight operations staff. Additionally, Air New Zealand staff had been in direct liaison with Rolls Royce. the manufacturer of the engine.

"The CAA has approved the action being carried out by Air New Zealand. The CAA also continues to check that these actions are being carried out to ensure the desired safety outcome," a spokesman said.


In May last year Air New Zealand and other airlines said they would shut down Dreamliners completely every three months after tests by Boeing exposed a problem that could cause the plane to lose all electrical power and a loss of control.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said laboratory tests had exposed a computer glitch in a 787 that was run continuously for 248 days and could cause it to lose power as generator units simultaneously went into failsafe mode.

- NZ Herald

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