Lufthansa seeks spare Trent 900 for another A380 swap

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German flag-carrier Lufthansa is to undertake another engine change on its first Airbus A380 aircraft, this time as a direct result of the Qantas powerplant incident earlier this month.

Lufthansa has yet to determine from where it will source the additional Rolls-Royce Trent 900, having already exhausted its spare engine reserves with a separate engine change - although for a reason unrelated to the Qantas mishap.

The airline will only confirm that it is to make a single engine change, and points out that it will keep the aircraft in service until the swap by following the precautionary checks imposed by Rolls-Royce and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

"It is not a problem to fly this A380," says a spokesman for the carrier. "It is safe to fly."

Lufthansa will not identify the aircraft involved but a source familiar with the situation has informed ATI that the airframe is the same one - serial number 38, registered D-AIMA, its oldest A380 - which underwent the previous, routine, engine change.

But the source says the plan to obtain the engine is "not concrete". The airline has a fifth A380 on the production line, due for delivery next year, and the source indicates that this jet may have to be "cannibalised" to provide the powerplant.

As a result, the source adds, the airline is "not sure" how long it might have to wait to secure a extra Trent 900.

Spare engines have become a scarce resource since the uncontained Trent 900 failure on a Qantas A380 on 4 November. All three operators of Trent 900-powered examples have committed to changing a number of powerplants since the incident.

Airbus says it has yet to determine the number of engines which might need changing among the 80 on the global fleet of 20 Trent-equipped jets.

But the airframer says that Rolls-Royce is to "supply the airlines directly with any replacement engines which they agree are needed", which could be sourced from Rolls-Royce's own production line, Airbus assembly lines or carriers' spare stocks.

"Airbus is supporting Rolls-Royce and the customers when requested to do so, by demounting engines from the customer's production aircraft in Toulouse and Hamburg," adds a spokesman for Airbus.