Rolls-Royce finds premature blade wear on Trent XWB
August 12, 2020
Rolls-Royce is inspecting Airbus A350-900-powering Trent XWB-84 engines after "unexpected wear" was found on intermediate-pressure compressor (IPC) blades in several engines nearing their first regular overhaul. The UK manufacturer disclosed the information ahead of an airworthiness directive from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, "to address any potential speculation which may result". Rolls-Royce says the issue was identified during "routine inspections" on a "small" number of engines with ages of four or five years. Noting that "currently just over 100 Trent XWB-84s" in that age bracket are in service, Rolls-Royce says: "We have inspected the majority of them and found signs of wear on an average of only one or two IPC blades in a minority of those inspected. We have also taken the precaution of sampling a number of younger Trent XWB-84 engines and have found no unexpected wear." The affected engines were approaching their first overhaul. "None of these engines have experienced any abnormal in-flight operation," says Rolls-Royce. "However, we are inspecting all other Trent XWB-84 engines of a similar service life as a precaution." The Trent XWB is the sole engine available for the A350. Trent XWB-84s are used on the A350-900, which entered service in 2015. The larger A350-1000, which entered service in 2018, is equipped with Trent XWB-97s. Rolls-Royce says the IPC blade issue can be addressed through "limited... additional work" during "existing shop visits". Noting availability of replacement parts and spare engines, the manufacturer stresses: "We do not expect this issue to create significant customer disruption or material annual cost." Chris Cholerton, president of the manufacturer's civil aerospace division, states that the Trent XWB-84 has achieved "unequalled on-wing reliability" and that engines nearing their first shop visit have required "no unplanned maintenance". He adds: "It is reassuring to see that our proactive inspection regime has enabled us to identify and swiftly address this issue and minimise any potential impact on our customers." Rolls-Royce has been severely affected by blade-durability issues on Trent-series engines, particularly the Trent 1000 – an option on the Boeing 787. There were widespread groundings of these long-haul aircraft as engines required unscheduled shop visits. The Trent 1000 issues included premature blade deterioration in the IPC and the intermediate- and high-pressure turbines.

Source: Cirium

​Union issues Heathrow strike threat over proposed pay cuts
August 11, 2020
London Heathrow airport employees are being urged by the Unite union to reject proposed pay cuts of up to a quarter, while industrial action is not being ruled out. Unite, which represents more than 4,000 Heathrow workers, says it will "consider all options", including industrial action, if members do reject the proposals. Regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King says Heathrow declined the union's request that the pay cuts be temporary. "Unite is urging HAL [Heathrow Airport Ltd] to withdraw these massive pay cuts and return to the negotiating table where Unite is committed to discussing fair cost reductions," adds King. The airport operator states that its proposal "will guarantee a job at Heathrow for anyone who wants one" and eliminate the need for any redundancies. While vowing to "protect or increase pay for half of our colleagues", Heathrow Airport Ltd confirms that "those on higher pay agreed when aviation was experiencing much better days will have to take a pay cut if they want to stay on". The cuts are in the 15-20% range "for most of those colleagues", it adds. Arguing that "a speedy recovery... is not going to be possible" – given travel restrictions that are "changing daily" and "the ongoing threat of a second wave" of the Covid-19 pandemic – Heathrow Airport Ltd concludes: "We cannot continue operating as we did before. Our final proposal will provide a job for all of our colleagues and ensure the long-term future of the airport. We urge our union partners to accept the revised offer."

SourceL Cirium

​Cathay Pacific's rights issue oversubscribed
August 11, 2020
Cathay Pacific's HK$11.7 billion ($1.5 billion) rights issue, made as part of a government rescue plan, has been oversubscribed. In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on 7 August, after market close, the flag carrier disclosed that it had received offers for 3.43 billion rights shares, compared with the 2.5 billion offered, an oversubscription of 137%. In addition to the minority shareholders that exercised their rights, major shareholders Swire Pacific, Air China and Qatar Airways subscribed for all of the – respectively – 1.13 billion, 751 million and 250 million rights shares provisionally allotted to them under the rights issue. These represent approximately 45%, 29.99% and 9.99% of the total number of rights shares, respectively. The rights issue is the second tranche of a three-tranche HK$39 billion recapitalisation plan for the company. The first tranche was the issuance of HK$19.5 billion in preference shares to Aviation 2020 – a limited company wholly owned by the government – for an undisclosed stake. For the third tranche, Aviation 2020 will provide a HK$7.8 billion bridge loan facility to Cathay. The bailout marks the first time the Hong Kong government has stepped in to rescue a private company.

Source: Cirium


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