Trent 7000 reliability under the spotlight

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By the Leeham News Team

June 24, 2024, ©. Leeham News: The Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 is the exclusive engine for the A330neo and the seventh in Rolls Royce’s Trent series.

Having entered into service in early 2019, the engine has already surpassed one million flying hours.

The powerplant – which is the Trent 1000 but with bleed air features vs the electrically-based Trent 1000 – features efficient hollow Titanium fan blades enabling a fuel burn improvement of 14% per seat compared to previous iterations of the A330.

Launched by Airbus in July 2014, the A330-900 Neo is powered exclusively by Trent 7000 engines. Credit: Airbus

However, there have been issues relating to the reliability of the Trent 7000 which have complicated the A330neo’s early years of service.

Industry insiders have told LNA that operators of the A330neo faced lower than expected time-on-wing for the powerplants, as well as a lack of spares that has impacted maintenance and return to service.

Experts say the protective coatings on the engine’s turbine blades have reportedly been a factor.

But RR strongly denies there have been any reliability issues with the engine.

A RR spokeswoman said: “Our fleet of Trent 7000 engines is performing exceptionally well, and has delivered industry-leading levels of reliability to our customers over the last 18 months.” Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: New engine development. Part 11. Core cycle.

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 14, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We do an article series about engine development. The aim is to understand why engine development now has longer timelines than airframe development and carries larger risks of product maturity problems.

To understand why engine development has become a challenging task, we need to understand engine fundamentals and the technologies used for these fundamentals.

We have covered the main thrust-generating device, which we can call a propeller, fan, or open rotor, depending on the application. To drive the main thrust device, we need a lot of shaft power, which is provided by the core. We start with how the core, which is a gas turbine, generates power.

Figure 1. The core cycle compared to a piston engine cycle. Source: Rolls-Royce, The Jet Engine.

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A350-1000 or 777-8? Part 2

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By Bjorn Fehrm

May 16, 2024, © Leeham News: We are doing an article series comparing the capabilities of the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 777X. We have looked at the A350-1000 versus the 777-9 and started comparing the history and capabilities of the 777-8 versus the A350-1000 last week.

Now, we use our Aircraft Performance and Cost Model (APCM) to fly the aircraft on a typical route and compare their performance.

  • The A350-1000 and the latest 777-8 definition is a closer payload-range match than the A350-1000 and 777-9.
  • Passenger and cargo capabilities are similar. The economic comparison will be determined by maintenance costs for the engines.

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A350-1000 or 777-9? Part 4

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By Bjorn Fehrm

May 2, 2024, © Leeham News: We are doing an article series comparing the capabilities of the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-9. We looked at the development history of the aircraft and then their capability and fuel economics.

We could see that the 777-9 is trailing the A350-1000 in payload range, partly because we compare the base version of the 777-9 with a further developed A350-1000. Now, we investigate what the 777-9 performance would be should we include a typical future development of the Maximum TakeOff Weight (MTOW).

  • The A350-1000 has a clear payload-range advantage over the standard 777-9.
  • With an in-service Maximum TakeOff Weight (MTOW) development like the A350-1000, the difference is reduced.

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Bjorn’s Corner: New engine development. Part 5. Turbofan design problems

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We do an article series about engine development. The aim is to understand why engine development now dominates new airliner development when it comes to the needed calendar time and risks.

To understand why engine development has become a challenging task, we need to understand engine fundamentals and the technologies used for these fundamentals.

We discussed geared versus direct-drive turbofans last week. Now, we’ll examine some design problems for these engines.

Figure 1. The Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan, with its unique aluminum fan. Source: Pratt & Whitney.

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A350-1000 or 777-9? Part 2

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By Bjorn Fehrm

April 10, 2024, © Leeham News: We are doing an article series comparing the capabilities of the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-9. The A350-1000 has not been a hot seller, and a lot of analysts asked why. Is there a capability gap or what is the reason?

At the same time, the reworked Boeing 777X had reassuring initial sales at the November 2013 launch at the Dubai Air Show, where Emirates ordered 150 777-9 out of a total show orderbook of 259 aircraft for Emirates (150), Qatar (50), Lufthansa (34), and Ethiad (20). The orders have since grown to 481 as of late 2023.

The A350-1000 has had a recent resurgence in orders and switches from the A350-900 orders, whereas the 777–9 has seen several delays due to engine and certification problems and is now scheduled for 2025 delivery instead of 2020.

Does the 777-9 or the A350-1000 hold the upper hand in a long-term race between the largest widebodies after the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8i stopped deliveries? We use our Aircraft Performance and Cost model to compare the two to understand their present performance and potential for upgrades.

  • The Boeing 777-9 is a larger and heavier aircraft with a 12% higher passenger capacity.
  • Does an advanced wing and later generation engines compensate for an older and heavier fuselage structure?

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Bjorn’ s Corner: Engine development. Part 1. Introduction

March 29, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We finished our article series about New Aircraft Technologies last week. It dealt with the different new technologies that a next-generation airliner could use to increase efficiency and by it environmental emissions.

An area that we touched upon but didn’t dig deeper into was engine development. When airframe development historically decided how long a new generation of aircraft took to develop, it gradually changed to engine development being the more calendar-time-consuming and riskier development for the last generations. This article series will discuss why and what can be done about it.

Figure 1. CFM RISE, a new engine development for the next generation of airliners. Source: CFM.

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Bjorn’ s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 49. Engine Maintenance

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 8, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We are discussing the different phases of a new airliner program. After covering the Design and Production, we now look at the Operational phase of a new airliner family.

For the operational phase, the airplane must pass scrutiny for Continued Airworthiness. The biggest item in a regulator’s Instructions for Continued Airworthiness is the required Maintenance program to keep an airliner airworthy. We discussed airframe maintenance in the last article. Now, we look at engine maintenance.

Figure 1. The CFM56-7 engine for the Boeing 737NG. Source: CFM.

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Rolls Royce tackles Trent engine issues as profits take flight

By Tom Batchelor

February 23, 2024, © Leeham News:  The turnaround at Rolls Royce is well-underway as the company revealed a more than doubling of its annual profit – ahead of expectations – at its full year 2023 results announcement on Thursday.

Just a year after the incoming CEO Tufan Erginbilgic warned that the engine group was a “burning platform”, revenues climbed to £15.4bn ($19.4bn at current rates), up from £12.7bn ($16bn) in 2022, and profits soared by 143% to £1.6bn ($2bn), from £652m ($823m). Analysts had estimated profits closer to £1.3bn ($1.6bn) for 2023.

Rolls Royce key financial indicators for 2023. Click to enlarge. Credit: Rolls Royce

Key financial indicators for Rolls Royce in 2023. Click to enlarge. Credit: Rolls Royce

RR delivered a total of 458 engines last year, including 262 destined for large civil aircraft, alongside orders for around 700 powerplants.

Speaking during a briefing call, former BP executive Erginbilgic called it a “transformation” which had “delivered a record performance in 2023”.

Notably, progress is being made on improvements to the Trent XWB-97 and Trent 1000 engines, designed to address durability issues reported by customers operating widebodies in dry and dusty environments.

“We are creating momentum and a track record of significant delivery,” Erginbilgic said, though “bottlenecks” caused by both labor and parts shortages would continue to be a factor into 2026.

“We expect the supply chain to remain challenging for another 18-24 months,” he said. Read more

2024 Outlook: A Mixed Bag for Propulsion OEMs

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By Chris Sloan and Gordon Smith

January 11, 2033, © Leeham News: In 2023, a slew of problems plagued propulsion providers, with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF Engine and supply-chain shortcomings grabbing the bulk of negative headlines and customer complaints. There were bright spots for all the big three with a slew of significant orders, emerging technologies, and critical management shifts.

As the calendar turns to 2024, all eyes will be on a return to fulfilling enormous backlogs, supporting OEM production rate increases, and returning GTF-propelled planes to the skies – while edging towards new technologies, both incremental and revolutionary.

  • Pratt and its operators navigate massive AOGs (aircraft on ground) and unhappy customer claims for its GTF.
  • The GTF Advantage closes in on EIS.
  • GTF maladies open the door to a possible new platform, the long-mooted Airbus A220-500.
  • The X66A Tranonic-Truss-Braced Wing offers promise for both Pratt’s GTF and GE’s future RISE engines.
  • GEnx and GE-9X win blockbuster campaigns on the 787 and 777X as the 777X hurtles toward certification.
  • CFM’s LEAP goes from strength to strength on the heels of MAX orders and 737-7 and 737-10 certification and entry-into-service.
  • Fixing LEAP durability and delivery challenges.
  • Rolls-Royce Trent troubles continue to draw the ire of customers.
  • UltraFan testing moves forward in Roll’s quest to build a next-generation engine platform for the 2030s. Read more