The Rolls-Royce engine failure on the Qantas A380 flight earlier this month was caused by the failure of an engine part and the subsequent release of the intermediate pressure turbine disc, the company has confirmed.
Rolls-Royce said it had come to the conclusion following engine tests on Trent 900s conducted in parallel with an examination of evidence from the incident, including data from the damaged engine and its monitoring system, analysis of recovered material and interrogation of the fleet history.
These investigations had led it to draw two key conclusions. First, the issue was specific to the Trent 900. Secondly, the failure was confined to a specific component in the turbine area of the engine. This caused an oil fire, which led to the release of the intermediate pressure turbine disc.
Rolls-Royce said that it was continuing to work closely with the investigating authorities. “Our process of inspection will continue and will be supplemented by the replacement of the relevant module according to an agreed programme,” it said.
These measures had led to some reduction in A380 aircraft availability. “This programme will enable our customers progressively to bring the whole fleet back into service. Safety continues to be Rolls-Royce’s highest priority,” it said.
Rolls-Royce admitted that the Qantas incident would affect yearly profits. Sir John Rose, chief executive, said: “This event and the consequent actions will have an impact on the Group’s financial performance this year.
“However the scale of our order book, the breadth and mix of our portfolio, the global nature of our business and our strong balance sheet makes Rolls-Royce a resilient business, and we expect continued underlying profit growth in 2010”.