Rolls-Royce confirms faulty part caused Qantas flight explosion

12 November 2010
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12 November 2010 | Helen Gilbert 

Rolls-Royce has today confirmed a faulty engine part was behind an explosion that forced A380 Qantas flight QF32 to make an emergency landing last week. 

The aerospace giant said the failure of a “specific component” in the turbine area of the engine started an oil fire, which caused the engine to explode mid-air. 

Rolls-Royce would not confirm the nature of the component, the supplier of the part or whether it could be obtained elsewhere. 

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said the fault only related to its Trent 900 engine types. It currently supplies these engines to three major airlines - Qantas, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

In a statement, Rolls-Royce said its investigations had led to two key conclusions – that the issue was specific to the Trent 900 and the failure was confined to a specific component.

“This caused an oil fire, which led to the release of the intermediate pressure turbine disc,” the statement read. “Rolls-Royce continues to work closely with the investigating authorities. Our process of inspection will continue, and will be supplemented by the replacement of the relevant module according to an agreed programme.”

The European Aviation Safety Agency yesterday issued an emergency directive demanding regular checks on all Trent 900 engines made by Rolls-Royce.

The aerospace firm also revealed this morning that the problems were set to hit its profit growth this year. 

Chief executive Sir John Rose, said: “This event and the consequent actions will have an impact on the group’s financial performance this year. However, the scale of our order book, the breadth and mix of our portfolio, the global nature of our business and our strong balance sheet makes Rolls-Royce a resilient business, and we expect continued underlying profit growth in 2010.” 

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