All grounded 787s should be returned to service next week, Boeing says

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Boeing expects to swap out by early next week defective gearboxes on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines powering five 787s operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA).

ANA grounded five of its 11 787s on 22 July after being alerted by R-R that the version of the gearbox installed on those aircraft corroded faster than expected in ground endurance tests and caused damage to the engine.

Gearbox supplier Hamilton Sundstrand shipped replacement parts to ANA. Three of the five grounded aircraft were returned to operational service on 24 July, and a fourth has since rejoined the flying fleet.

The fifth and last grounded 787 should be ready to re-enter service by early next week, says chief executive Jim McNerney, who spoke to analysts this morning on second quarter earnings.

Meanwhile, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency directive that limits operators to a single ferry flight if only one of the engines is installed with a faulty gearbox.

Despite the grounding of in-service aircraft, McNerney calls the incident a "minor issue". Boeing also is replacing gearboxes on 787 engines in productiong, he adds, but he expects no impact on delivery rates.

Boeing plans to deliver between 35 and 42 787s by the end of the year.