ANA All Nippon Airways, the largest operator of the 787 in the world, has been considerably affected by the issues with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 IPC blades.
The airline has been working with the engine maker to resolve these issues, and now, according to Shinya Katanozaka, ANA’s President and CEO, all of the 787s that remain grounded are expected to return into service by the beginning of next fiscal year.
ANA Boeing 787 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Engine Issues
With 71 Boeing 787s in its fleet and further 12 on order, ANA is the world’s largest operator of the type. It operates all three variants of the type and has the following numbers of each:
- Boeing 787-8: 36 delivered
- Boeing 787-9: 33 delivered, 11 more on order
- Boeing 787-10: 2 delivered, 1 more on order
ANA initially had to ground some of its 787s – those equipped with Trent 1000 Package C engines – for inspections and blade replacement back in April 2018.
While the airline managed to continue its operations without any disruptions, that changed a couple of months later when repairs were ordered on Trent 1000 Package B-equipped aircraft as well.
Since then, ANA has been working with Rolls-Royce on getting the necessary repairs done, and its 787s have been returning into service gradually.
It has also negotiated compensation from the engine maker, Katanozaka said when presenting financial results for FY2018 back in April 2019:
We established a support system for priority delivery of upgraded parts from the engine manufacturer to deal with the Boeing 787 engine issues. At the same time, we continued negotiations for compensation from the engine manufacturer.
A few of the aircraft still remain grounded, though, putting stress on the airline’s schedules and fleet. During the presentation of financial results for the first quarter of FY2019, Katanozaka said:
The main reason for the increase in maintenance expenses is that engine issues with the Boeing 787 forced us to operate other aircraft at higher utilization. This, in turn, increased the maintenance frequency for the engines on the aircraft.
Besides utilizing its existing aircraft at a higher rate, ANA will also be adding three ex-Vanilla Air A320s to its fleet next January to – among other reasons – compensate for the grounded 787s.
Luckily for ANA, though, the end of the 787 groundings seems to be in sight. At the latest investor presentation – when announcing the results for the first half of FY2019 – Katanozaka briefly mentioned that:
As for the issue with Boeing 787 engines, we are progressing as planned with replacing the affected parts. We are continuing to receive the parts from the engine maker as planned, and we aim to have all the aircraft back in service by the end of this fiscal year [March 31, 2020].
In other words, the airline is planning to have its complete 787 fleet back in service by next year’s summer schedule.
The Issue Didn’t Affect JAL, Another Large 787 Operator
ANA’s largest competitor – JAL is, with 42 airframes in service and further 7 on order, one of the largest operators of the 787 as well.
While both of the airlines were affected by the 787 battery issues back in 2013, JAL was spared of the more recent engine issues. The reason for that is that while ANA powers all of its 787s with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, JAL uses General Electric GEnx engines.
With the GEnx being a completely different product from the Trent 1000, it was not affected by the IPC blade issues.
While ANA has negotiated compensation with Rolls-Royce for the engine blade issues, that is likely nowhere near enough to cover the costs – both in terms of lost revenues as well as increased expenses – that ANA has been incurring as a result of the 787 groundings.
As such, ANA must be relieved to finally be close to getting all of the (almost brand) new aircraft back into the air. Deep down, it might also be regretting not opting for the GEnx engines that JAL went with.