Air New Zealand is scrambling to find more aircraft after problems with Rolls-Royce engines on its Dreamliners forced flight cancellations and delays during the next four days.

Disruption could stretch for weeks after turbine blade problems forced two flights to turn back to Auckland this week.

The airline is consolidating a number of flights and approaching other airlines to see if they have for spare aircraft to make up for the shortfall of capacity as its Dreamliners with older engines are worked on.

The airline has notified the stock exchange that there will be some international flight cancellations and delays each day over the coming weeks following problems with the aircraft engines.

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Rolls-Royce told the airline that some of its engines on the Boeing 787-9 fleet will require maintenance sooner than previously advised and that it does not have any spare engines available while that work is undertaken.

Last year corrosion and cracking problems were identified in Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on Japanese airline ANA Dreamliners and the engine maker undertook to replace them around the world. Small turbine blades at the back of the engines are being replaced.

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An engine had to be shut down on a flight to Japan had to turn back on Tuesday and yesterday a flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires had to return to Auckland International Airport. The engine was not shut down in that case.

Air New Zealand's chief operations Integrity and standards officer, David Morgan, told the Herald that on the Japan flight the blades failed and exhaust gas temperature rises indicated problems with the engine. The second case was not as serious.

The aircraft were flown within safety parameters, he said.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is investigating the incidents involving the Trent engines. Air New Zealand has been flying Dreamliners since 2014 and has 11 in its fleet.

Air New Zealand said today it would be focused on finding replacement aircraft capacity.

The company told the NZX that at ''this stage'' it did not anticipate any change to current financial guidance.

Passengers affected by the changes will be contacted with new travel information. In addition to this, the latest available information on any schedule changes will be published in the Travel Alerts section of the Air New Zealand website.

Customers are encouraged to check this first before calling the airline's contact centre.

During the next four days cancelled flights include some from Auckland to Perth, Osaka and Houston. Delays stretch up to nine hours.

A Rolls-Royce spokeswoman told the Herald it was working to restore full flight operations as soon as possible.

''It's not uncommon for long-term engine programmes to experience technical issues during their life and we manage them through proactive maintenance. Trent 1000 is now approaching six years of revenue service.''


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