Are the Technical Limits of Passengers Limiting their Technical Limits?


Boeing 787 aircraft operated by British Airways, Norway Shuttle Air, Virgin Atlantic and others have been established in recent years for inspections and repairs as the Trent 1000 engine blades are getting worse than expected. with it. It is the type of problem that is becoming popular in the industry as the demands placed on engines become larger.

The cost of dealing with these things is also increasing. Last week, Rolls-Royce quantified the cost of various Trent 1000 issues set at 2.4 billion pounds ($ 3.1 billion), a cash outflow that the weighted maker cannot debt.

There has been little invention to change our lives over the past century than with jet engines. They will allow people to travel faster and longer, and are extremely safe. Passenger deaths such as death caused by turbine failure on the Southwest Airlines flight last year are rare. Developed at a huge cost and using new innovative materials, the latest “power stations” (to use the industry name of the engines) are relatively quiet and fuel efficient.

But these innovations have brought technology closer to its technical boundaries and reliability issues have fallen into disrepair. “By pushing the envelope and satisfaction, things are starting to go wrong elsewhere in the system,” said Nick Cunningham at the Agency's Partners. This is a cause for concern as companies are under pressure to build more efficient driving systems to curb carbon emissions.

Rolls-Royce problems appear to be very serious – about 40 787 people are powered by their parking machines – but this is an industry-wide issue. Airlines have landed aircraft and adjusted flight schedules, and are obliged to lease replacement aircraft and tell engine manufacturers to pay compensation.

In September, Tim Clark, Emirates manager, said manufacturers are delivering aircraft that does not promise. “Give us airframes and engines that operate from day one. If you can't do it, don't show them, ”he said.

The laws of science are not the only thing that tests the makers of engines. Airbus SE and Boeing Co.. has brought several new passenger jets to market in a row quickly and their suppliers have to rapidly increase production power. There are many new demands from emerging markets where dust or contaminated air can put extra pressure on engines.

Last year, Airbus production was thrown into the year by turbats (PAT) Pratt & Whitney-related engine movements for the A320neo, Airbus's best-selling jet. Recently, 777x Boeing wide body aircraft launch address was launched until next year after your general electrical engine component is thrown out premature.

One thing is that engine loses tough production targets, but many more to fail machines when they are in service. “Engine manufacturers always had initial problems but in twenty years I didn't see anything like the list of recent technical questions,” says John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting.

This month India threatened the scores of Airbus A230neo vehicles operated by the domestic carrier Indigo unless they were replaced by the Pratt engines by the end of January. The warning continued some incidents involving engines flying down.

In October Lufthansa AG established the Airbus A220 (1) fleet temporarily so that the Pratt engines could be inspected after failures of power failures (debris from one such incident from French forest last week) ). Since then Canadian regulators ordered the same aircraft not to operate at full power above a specified height.

Some 70% of airlines and lessors surveyed by Citi Research said that the causes of engine issues were a cause for concern. Some of them want to operate mixed fleets to reduce the risk of a single engine type. While this is prudent, it is more expensive to use one type of equipment.

The risk for engine manufacturers is that reliability issues cost them market share. Earlier this year, New Zealand transferred an order for 787 jet-engines to GE after problems with its Rolls-Royce equipment. Indigo ordered a $ 20 billion order with GE / Safran engine joint venture and purchased it from Pratt (Pratt claimed the decision was price related).

The problems have not affected all new technologies. The XWB Rolls-Royce reliable power plate for the Airbus A350 has been created to date. The core leverage innovation seems to be the basis of a GTF's GTF as planned; relief because it costs about $ 10 billion to develop.

However, there are more airline flight schedules and pride and profitability of manufacturers. In addition to the car industry, the aerospace sector is preparing to try to prevent carbon emissions. Aviation consists of 2% -3% of greenhouse gas emissions but the number of airline deliveries in the coming years will address engine efficiency gains. A share of aviation could rise between 10% and 25% by 2050, and Roland Berger studied it out.

Unlike carmakers, airlines do not have viable alternatives to technology. Biofuels have large potential commercial aircraft but they are probably decades away

Machine manufacturers are working on jet-engine designs that are even more effective. Rolls-Royce requires its Ultrafan technology to improve the fuel burn by 25% compared to the first generation of Trents. It is necessary to bring these innovations to market quickly from the planet's point of view, but false development could be counter-productive. “My sense is that public opinion in Europe is moving faster than at least technology,” says Rob Stallard at Vertical Research Partners.

Cunningham is even less optimistic. “Gas turbines are running out of the road at the point where the political impetus is towards greater decarbonisation,” he says. “It is unlikely that jet engines will be better from this.”

(1) Bombardier Inc. developed the plane and was given the C Series before Airbus acquired a majority share.

To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or the Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Chris Bryant is an Opinion Bloomberg columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.