Qantas pushes its Trent 900 engines harder than other airlines

It would seem that while there may well be a fundamental issue with the Trent 900 as used by Qantas, the manner in which Qantas operates the engines may be a significant contributing factor. Sources indicate that Qantas run their engines “harder” than the other Trent 900 users (Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa) primarily, it seems, for economic reasons. Competitive pressures on airlines as well as those on the engine makers may be coming into play.

Reuters:

 

Qantas cracking the whip too hard? (image:aerospaceweb.org)

 

Qantas Airways  is reviewing the way it operates its A380 planes after last week’s engine blowout, a source said on Tuesday, amid reports that it worked its Rolls-Royce  engines harder than other airlines.

Qantas operates its A380 engines at higher thrust levels, which could result in resonating vibrations that cause oil lines to crack, The Australian newspaper said. The higher maximum thrust setting is used on some Qantas A380 take-offs on long-haul routes between Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne than other operators such as Singapore Airlines, the daily said, quoting unnamed engineers. However, the extra thrust setting of 72,000 pounds remained 3,000 pounds below the engine’s design limits and within operating guidelines, it added.

Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Monday that its engines had a “slightly higher level of power” than those used in Singapore Airlines or Lufthansa planes, but they were certified to operate at those levels. The way Qantas operated the engines was part of a wider review, said an airline source, who was not authorised to talk publicly about the matter. “The operations are one of the things Qantas are reviewing along with the components,” said the source.

Qantas, which declined to comment on the report, said on Friday it suspected a material failure or a design issue may have caused last Thursday’s engine failure over Indonesia which forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

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3 Responses to “Qantas pushes its Trent 900 engines harder than other airlines”

  1. Damage to Qantas A380 aircraft was more severe than thought « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Rolls Royce has said that the issues are specific to the Trent 900 and there are further indications that the issues may be specific to the engines as used by Qantas. […]

  2. Rolls Royce faces 3 different engine issues as Singapore Airlines changes engines on 3 A 380s « The k2p blog Says:

    […] probably when the Trent 900 is being “pushed” close to maximum thrust conditions and Qantas’ method of operation has these engines operating at these conditions for more of the time than other airlines. This mode […]

  3. Qantas A380 flights to LA to restart on 17th January « The k2p blog Says:

    […] While Qantas had restarted flying its A380 aircraft with Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines on  27th November after the engine failure on 4th November, its flights to Los Angeles remained grounded since the engines had not been cleared for operating at the higher thrust levels necessary for reaching LA. […]

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