SIA modifies Trent 900s to latest variant

Singapore
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Singapore Airlines (SIA) is modifying some Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines to the latest "C mod", following the 4 November uncontained engine failure on a Qantas Airways A380 that has been linked to earlier variants of the powerplant.

The Star Alliance carrier is in the process of modifying all the "A mod" variants of its Trent 900s to the "C mod" and will eventually modify the "B mod" variants as well, say sources familiar with the matter.

Industry sources say that the cause behind the Qantas engine failure - an axial misalignment of the counter-boring in the stub pipe of the engine - was limited to earlier variants of the Trent 900.

"The priority is to make sure you have no 'A mods'," says one of the sources.

SIA's spokesman says the engines are covered under TotalCare agreements that the carrier has signed with Rolls-Royce, indicating that the modifications will be paid for by the engine manufacturer.

Asked if the carrier will seek compensation from Rolls-Royce for losses resulting from taking aircraft out of service for the changes, the spokesman says: "The priority at this point is managing the situation from an operational standpoint and ensuring that flights are not disrupted."

Qantas indicated last week that it could commence legal action against Rolls-Royce to recover losses from the grounding of its A380 fleet in the wake of the engine failure.

"If compensation discussions needs to take place, they will take place at the appropriate time," adds SIA's spokesman.

Rolls-Royce's spokeswoman, when contacted, says: "It is not true that we knew about a problem in the A and B versions of the engine and went on to correct it in the C version. There has been no design change relevant to this failure between A, B and C versions of the engine."