Posts Tagged ‘Lufthansa’

Will SAS be acquired by Qatar or Lufthansa?

January 11, 2012

SAS – which used to be one of my favourite airlines – needs new owners with access to larger markets and with financial muscle.

Lufthansa was – and still is – the most likely buyer. But in the last 2 days the rumors of interest from Qatar have been driving up the SAS share price. Of course the rumors have been denied.

But  SAS is unsustainable as it is and  something is due to happen with SAS ownership this year. And my guess would be that the clear fit and benefits would point to Lufthansa rather than Quatar.

Rolls Royce engine failure will eat up $80 million of Qantas profits

February 17, 2011

Qantas half-year profits have already been hit to the tune of $55 million by the failure of the Rolls Royce Trent 900 and the subsequent grounding of their A380 aircraft in November last year. They also stated that there would be a charge of $ 25 million for the second half-year which gives a total cost to Qantas – for this financial year – of at least $ 80 million.

BBC News:

Qantas Airways said its first half net profits had risen four-fold, but it added that last year’s explosion in one of its Rolls-Royce engines had wiped off $55m (£34.4m). The breakdown led to the grounding of its A380 aircraft last year.

The Australian airline predicted 2011 full year profits would be much higher than last year. But it warned that these would be held back by high fuel prices and the recent floods in Queensland.

Qantas said there would be another $25m charge in the second-half results from the A380 problems.

Rolls Royce has already announced  a hit on profits for direct costs of £56 million (about $89 million) for the engine explosion and related events for the year till December 2010. No doubt the losses suffered by Qantas will be part of their compensation claim against the engine maker.

With compensation claims due also from Airbus (EADS), Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa and with the additional costs spilling over into 2011, the total cost of the engine mishap will likely exceed my estimate of  $300 million.

Estimated costs for Rolls Royce:

  • Direct costs $130 million
  • Indirect (servicing) costs thru 2011 – $50 million
  • Qantas claim – $70 million
  • Airbus claims – $50 million
  • Singapore Airline claims – $25 million
  • Lufthansa claims – $10 million

What impact the loss of potential sales could have is anybody’s guess – but it would be interesting to see if Pratt & Whitney shows a better than expected order intake.

What did Rolls Royce know and when?

November 20, 2010

Rolls Royce have been conspicuously silent but it is now emerging from the airlines that Rolls Royce knew something was amiss with the older versions of the Trent 900 long before the engine failure on QF32 on November 4th. The indications are that they had serious doubts about the unmodified engines by May this year – and perhaps even earlier.

I posted my assessments about this on November 14th and 15th.

Did Rolls Royce know about the risk for a Trent 900 failure before the Qantas accident?

Problem with Trent 900 was known before accident and raises ethical questions

From an AP report via Yahoo Finance

Rolls-Royce modified a problematic section on new models of its engine for the world’s largest jetliner months before one caught fire and blew apart over Indonesia, a Lufthansa spokesman said Thursday.

The chief executive of Qantas, meanwhile, said Rolls-Royce had made modifications to the Trent 900 engine without telling the airline or Airbus, which makes the A380 superjumbo.

The officials’ remarks were the strongest indication yet that Rolls-Royce had addressed a defect in new models of the engine while allowing Airbus A380 superjumbos to continue flying with unmodified older models.

Lufthansa’s first A380, delivered by Airbus on May 19, had three newer versions of the Trent 900 engine and one older version, airline spokesman Thomas Jachnow said.

“When we got our first aircraft it was curious that one was from an older one and three were totally new from the production line,” Jachnow said. “I think this is more or less the cusp where the old to new happened.”

The Daily Telegraph carries a similar story:

The two airlines said Rolls had not informed them about the changes to the Trent 900, although sources close to the industry played down the modifications as “continuous improvements” and said reports that the changes related to the part that caused the oil leak on the Qantas A380 were “plain wrong”.

Rolls shares fell 11½, or 2pc, to 592p.

Investors are wary that the incident could cost Rolls customers. It is understood there are 22 A380s – bought by Qatar Airways, Kingfisher, Etihad and Air Austral – which are yet to decide whether to use the Trent 900 or a rival made by GE and Pratt & Whitney.

According to Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive, up to 40 engines could be replaced. Mr Joyce also claimed that Rolls had already been changing the engine. “Rolls-Royce have gone and modified certain parts of this engine,” he stated. “If this was significant and was known to be significant, we would have liked to have known about that. We and Airbus weren’t aware of it. But it depends on what the purpose of modifications were for. It doesn’t look like it’s a significant modification, but it is a modification that has an impact on how the engines are performing.”

A Lufthansa spokesman said it had noticed differences in newer versions of the Trent 900 it had been sent.

In addition to all their technical and logistic issues, Rolls Royce now need to urgently address their loss of credibility and provide detailed answers to:

What did Rolls Royce know and when did they know it?

Did Rolls Royce know about the risk for a Trent 900 failure before the Qantas accident?

November 14, 2010

Another new twist to the Rolls Royce Trent story.

First it appears that the regulators (EASA) relaxed their original inspection requirements in their Directive of August. It is not clear if this relaxation was in response to the airlines or to the engine maker requesting a change.

Now it seems that Rolls Royce may well have known (perhaps a year ago) that a number of their engines on “older” A 380s were susceptible to oil leaks and therefore to the potentially catastrophic consequences of a fire. About 40 engines on the Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa A 380s have to be changed out.  The newer engines have undergone two modifications compared to the older engines. It seems that Rolls Royce started modifying oil systems on some engines almost a year ago.

If Rolls Royce knew about the risk to the Trent 900 before the flight of Qantas QF32 on November 4th, there is an ethical dimension which needs to be considered.

According to the Herald Sun,

Fourteen of the 24 Trent 900 engines fitted to the six A380s Qantas has grounded are suspected of having an oil leak problem. Another 24 “faulty” engines are on Singapore Airlines jets. The airline has grounded three A380s. Two have been found by the German carrier, which has suffered two Trent incidents.

Revised versions of the engine are being rushed to Qantas.

Sir John Rose, chairman of the British engine maker, issued a statement late on Friday in which he admitted a “specific component in the turbine area of the engine caused an oil fire”, which led to a turbine disc hurtling out. He offered “regret” for causing “disruption”. But he failed to reveal when Rolls-Royce discovered the turbines of the Trent 900 were being exposed to the dangerous oil leaks and the dates of the two upgrades.

Qantas, Singapore Airlines and German carrier Lufthansa installed the original-spec engines on some of their jets. It is understood Qantas has begun record checks to see whether Rolls kept its engineers informed of the design changes to the $25 million engines.

An aircraft mechanic with one of the three airlines claimed Rolls-Royce began modifying the oil lubrication system on the Trent 900 engine in the second half of last year.

Qantas preparing for summer schedules without their A 380 fleet?

November 11, 2010

It seems that Qantas are preparing their summer schedules allowing for a potentially long non-availability of their A380s.

SMH (Business Day) reports that signs have emerged (that) Qantas’ flagship A380 aircraft may be out of service over the summer holidays, with its new schedule for international flights in coming weeks not including the A380.

Fairfax media says the airline’s A330 aircraft have replaced Boeing 747s on several Asian routes, freeing up the Boeing 747s to fly on the long-haul routes to Los Angeles and London. Fairfax quoted aviation insiders as saying that the Qantas A380 fleet was likely to remain grounded for weeks with the engine problem likely to be taking quite some time.

Qantas says it still hopes the A380s will be cleared within days, but at this stage it can provide no update and it won’t return the A380s to service until it can guarantee absolute safety.

Aviation Week reveals that all the changes and inspections of the engines on the A380s are straining the operations of Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

The decisions by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Lufthansa to replace Trent 900 engines on parts of their Airbus A380 fleets indicates continued uncertainty over what prompted the uncontained engine failure on a Qantas Airways A380 and is highlighting the operational strains when one of the mega-transports is not available.

But the upheaval in A380 operations – the first significant disruptions for the Airbus flagship since it entered service in 2007 – also is highlighting the challenges airlines face when having to replace an A380 in day-to-day operations. To mitigate the effects, Lufthansa, for instance, is rushing to make its engine change so it will not have to miss another flight.

One issue for Lufthansa is that the latest engine change will consume its last available spare Trent 900.

With three of its 12 A380s grounded for engine changes, an SIA spokesman acknowledges that there will be flight disruptions to passengers. All three aircraft are displaced from the airline’s home base, with one located in London and the other two at Sydney.

The Age also reports that Airlines are frustrated with Roll-Royce’s reluctance to communicate publicly. Even Emirates – which uses different engines on its A380 – said it was worried that passengers might be frightened off.

“We really don’t want this aircraft tarnished with a reputation for failures in certain areas,” said Emirates’ president Tim Clark. ”One thing we will not allow is a contagion effect.”

Qantas pushes its Trent 900 engines harder than other airlines

November 9, 2010

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.



Qantas cracking the whip too hard? (


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.

Something amiss with the Qantas version of the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines

November 8, 2010

Singapore Airlines has just announced, according to Reuters, that it had completed engine inspections on all its Airbus A380 aircraft and did not find any issues of concern.

“We have completed the engine inspections on all our A380 aircraft and did not find anything of concern,” SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides said on Monday.

“The findings of the inspections have been reviewed with Rolls-Royce. Any further checks that may be recommended by the manufacturers will of course be done, and in the meantime we continue with our regular routine checks.”


Australia’s Qantas said on Monday it would keep its A380 fleet grounded for at least another 72 hours after discovering problems on three more of the superjumbo’s engines.

Singapore has 11 A 380s powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines while Qantas has 6 Airbus A 380s. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Qantas Airways Ltd. on Monday said its engineers found oil leaks in Rolls-Royce Group Ltd. engines on three of its grounded fleet of A380 jetliners, amid an investigation into the blowout of a turbine that forced one of its double-deck superjumbos to make an emergency landing in Singapore last week. “These engines are not performing to the parameters you would expect,” said Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas, in a press conference in Sydney. “The oil leaks were beyond normal tolerances.”

Mr. Joyce added that the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines that Qantas operates on its fleet of A380s are designed to provide more thrust and torque, and that this version of the turbine could be at fault. Engineers have identified oil leaks on engines from three separate Qantas A380s, one currently grounded in Sydney and two other aircraft in Los Angeles, he said.

Mr. Joyce said that Qantas uses a different design of Trent engine than those used by Singapore Airlines and Deutsche Lufthansa AG on its A380s.

The problem seems to be narrowing down to either the particular version of the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine used by Qantas or the particular maintenance regime or procedures applying to the Qantas engines. In either case it should be of some cheer to Rolls Royce that the problem may not – on the surface – be a generic design fault with the Trent engines but something restricted to the engines as used by Qantas.

Lufthansa grounds one A 380 flight – plans to fly normally today

November 5, 2010

Lufthansa grounded its A380 scheduled to depart Frankfurt for Johannesburg on Thursday while it checked the Trent 900 engines, and instead used an A340-600 on the route, spokesman Boris Ogursky said. Lufthansa plans to fly the A380 from Frankfurt to Tokyo as scheduled on Friday, he added.

Qantas has extended its grounding of its A 380 fleet by at least another day.

Singapore Airlines has “delayed” all A 380 flights for extra engine checks.

The mid-air engine explosion that grounded Qantas and Singapore Airlines A380s was the third emergency linked to the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine. Two months ago, a Lufthansa A380 had to shut down one of its four Trent 900 engines shortly before landing at Frankfurt due to concerns about a change in oil pressure. Another Rolls-Royce-powered A380, this time operated by Singapore Airlines, was forced to turn back after leaving Paris in September last year because of an engine malfunction.


Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines keep their Trent 900s flying

November 4, 2010


Singapore Airlines (SIA/SQ) Airbus A380 (9V-SK...

ISingapore Airlines A 380: Image via Wikipedia


While Qantas has grounded its A380 fleet, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines – who also use the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines of the type which failed on the Qantas jet – are watching the situation but are keeping their A380’s flying.

Bloomberg reports:

Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Singapore Airlines Ltd. said they’ll keep their Airbus SAS A380s flying after Qantas Airways Ltd. grounded its six-strong superjumbo fleet following an engine explosion in mid-flight.

Lufthansa is operating its four A380s as normal, spokesman Boris Ogursky said by telephone, as is Singapore Airlines, which has 11 of the planes, according to a statement. The pair are the only other carriers with superjumbos powered by the same Rolls- Royce Group Plc Trent 900 engines used on the Qantas jet.

Australia’s Qantas will keep its fleet out of service “as long as it takes” after one of the four engines on an A380 failed en route from Singapore to Sydney, Chief Executive Officer Alan Joycesaid today. The pilots performed an emergency landing at Singapore at 11:46 a.m. local time.

Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to operate the A380 and has nine more on order, plus six options, according to its website. All will be powered by Trent 900 turbines.

Lufthansa, based in Cologne, Germany, has ordered 15 A380s, with those already delivered used for services to Tokyo, Beijing and Johannesburg. The Rolls engine passed compulsory tests “with flying colors” before delivery, the airline said in May.

Nicholas Ionides, head of corporate communications for Singapore Airlines, told Reuters the airline was liaising closely with its engineering team and manufacturers.


Dubai’s flag carrier Emirates Airline, the biggest single customer of the Airbus A380 aircraft, said Thursday all of its superjumbos are operational and on schedule, after an A380 owned by Qantas Airways (QAN.AU) was forced to make an emergency landing due to an engine failure.

“All of our Emirates A380s are operating as scheduled. Emirates has 13 A380s in operation, powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines,” the company said in an emailed statement.

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