It’s just too early to tell…

I was standing right there. At the launch event for the Airbus A350-1000XWB, a hot topic of conversation was inevitable as the heads of Qatar Airways, Rolls Royce and Airbus took the podium: the engines. After all, as this modern marvel of an aircraft was being ceremoniously rolled out, Rolls Royce was already embroiled in an expanding scope of engine issues involving the direct competitor of the Airbus A350, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Rolls Royce engine issues had forced many airlines to cancel, delay or re route Dreamliner flights, and everyone in the room wanted to know if any hiccups were to be expected from the newest member of the Rolls Royce Engine family. At the time, the answer was an emphatic “no”. But after a mid flight engine shut down just yesterday, involving a brand new Airbus A350, critics are already saying “not again”…

Trent 1000 – Trent XWB

Issues involving the Boeing 787 Dreamliner centered around the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine. Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine components, such as compressors and blades were corroding too quickly, resulting in engine shut downs and emergency landings. These issues warranted the FAA to release crippling safety mandates, which made certain routes impossible to fly, utilizing these essentially brand new airplanes. The issues have caused massive inconvenience to more than 12 major airlines. Rolls Royce is estimated to pay £1.5 Billion in fixes and compensation as a result of the rampant issues. But for the Airbus A350 family, an entirely “new” and different engine was created, known as the Trent XWB.

Trent XWB Engine Shutdown

Iberia accepted delivery of their first Airbus A350 aircraft over the summer months. The new planes are a key part of Iberia’s expansion strategy and represent the airline’s newest and best seats across all cabins. Iberia Flight 6252 departed New York’s JFK International Airport Tuesday evening, but was forced to make an emergency landing at Boston Logan Airport when an engine issue prompted shutdown, roughly 1.5 hours after take off. With one engine, the pilot made the obvious decision to divert to the nearest airport.

One Off, Or Worse?

Shutdowns involving the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine forced many 787 Dreamliner diversions and emergency landings, and this is only the first widely reported mid-flight shutdown of a new Airbus A350 engine. According to Rolls Royce, the engine is from the “entirely different” XWB engine program and issues with one should not have any effect on the other. Despite being just the first, the glitch has analysts, investors and safety watchdogs concerned that problems may have carried over from the troubled Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine to the XWB group. Presently, the Airbus A350 and Trent XWB engine combination is one of the most reliable duos in the sky, but the shut down understandably has everyone on edge, saying “not again”…

The Airbus A350 Is Fantastic

The “new” generation Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 are leaps ahead of most commercial airplanes in terms of passenger experience and remain fan favorites for travelers all around the globe. Just like with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, any issues are investigated with extreme caution and there’s absolutely no reason to panic in the slightest. Only the coming days, months and years will tell if this Iberia engine shutdown was one of an isolated nature, or yet another troubling “go around” for Rolls Royce, paying billions to fix mistakes which should never have been made. For now, the only people to be worried are Rolls Royce shareholders. The news sent shares down 5% in early trading.

What do you think – isolated, or sign of trouble?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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11 Comments

    1. All a350,s use RR engines, an agreement by engine and aircraft manufacturer so that the engine manufacturer can recover the enormous cost of engine development. Boeing and GE have similar arrangements. All modern day jet engines are at the limit of technical know how and cost millions to develop. That’s why RR bulked at the new engines for an upgraded A380-just not enough orders to cover the costs.

  1. So one engine shutdown and you relate it to the T1000, the a350 has been flying for 2+ years friends at British Airways say its a dream to maintain. As for which airlines that fly a350 RR that would be all. Maintenance data and flying data build a picture of reliability.

  2. Of course no us engine manufacurer is anything other than perfect.

    Their problems and they have them are as you would expect under reported by a funded media.

    Go RR you have Lways been the best and as for teething troubles have we all forgotten the 787s that caught fire and were so troublesome.
    Short memories.

  3. I assume this anonymous piece of journalism emanates from the US judging by the spelling. More unbiased non-partisan reporting!!

    Everyone in the industry knows that Rolls are fixing the blade problem and it will be sorted shortly. Rather than irresponsibly crowing about the Iberia shutdown and hiding the “no panic” clause deep in your article, surely the correct thing to have done would have been to wait for a report from the governing bodies involved.

    While you are waiting perhaps you could do a report on engine fires where it seems that allegedly the majority of recent western examples originate from engines manufactured in one country. Oh no! We couldn’t possibly have that could we?

  4. I think I’m with you Mike, this website seems to rejoice in telling us about problems with Rolls-Royce turbofans? All modern aircraft engines are miraculous works of engineering,, whether they be Pratt & Whitney, GE or RR. But to be fair a Trent XWB has thrown up its first problem after over 2 million flying hours, forcing a shutdown and safe landing. So in the interest of balanced reporting I’ve searched this website for its opinion on the (uncontained) catastrophic failure of the GE engine last April, but alas there seems to be no mention?

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