Engine concern delays A380’s tour of Asia

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Airbus is delaying the start of the A380’s imminent tour of Asia to allow it to replace two of the aircraft’s engines as a precaution following an unresolved problem with another powerplant.

Aircraft MSN001 suffered an unexplained “slight” increase in exhaust gas temperature on one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofan during a flight on 28 October.

Airbus says the crew brought the power on the affected engine back to idle and landed early without further incident. The engine, which was not shut down in the air, was replaced and is under examination.

Another engine on the same aircraft had previously been replaced in line with the test schedule so it could be examined for wear and other analysis. The remaining two engines were a similar build-standard to the powerplant with the exhaust gas temperature issue and programme sources indicate that officials were concerned at the prospect of a lengthy tour without knowing the cause of the incident. R-R says: “The decision was taken as a precautionary measure.”

Airbus says the aircraft will start the tour in Singapore on 11 November instead of 8 November and fly to Australia instead of Malaysia as intended, returning to Kuala Lumpur on 17 November.

The Australian tour is tied to Qantas’s 85th anniversary celebrations. The aircraft is also due at the Dubai air show this month.

- The third A380, MSN002, had its maiden flight on 3 November, joining MSN001 and MSN004. which Airbus says have completed 440 flight hours in 120 flights. MSN002 will be ferried to Hamburg for installation of a passenger cabin.

KEIRAN DALY/LONDON