ROLLS-ROYCE IS studying development of a coordinated regional engine-overhaul and repair capability for Asian airlines operating the Trent 800-powered Boeing 777.

The UK engine maker is trying to persuade carriers to adopt a co-operative approach to Trent engine maintenance, by establishing complementary, rather than competing, joint-venture engine-module overhaul sites in the region.

The study follows $2.3 billion-worth of recent 777 Trent orders from Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS). The first Trent-powered 777s are scheduled to enter service this year with Thai Airways International and Cathay Pacific Airways.

"Rolls-Royce is working out a programme with all the engine operators, where we could set up a centre of excellence for each module in the various facilities," says MAS engineering senior vice-president Noor Amiruddin.

Each airline will probably have its own test cell and a module-change capability. R-R and most of the carriers however, are keen to avoid the expense of duplicate and overlapping sites in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

R-R and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering are already building a new site at Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong to support Cathay's Trent and RB.211 engines. The companies are to form a new joint venture, Hong Kong Aircraft Engines Services (HAESL), to run the centre.

Construction of HAESL's new test cell will be complete by the end of 1996. Financial approval for the addition of engine module workshops has still to be given and could be modified to accommodate other regional Trent service centres, says a source.

Industry observers, however, are pessimistic about whether a region-wide collaborative agreement can be reached, noting that efforts over the past 12 years have amounted to nothing.

SIA, in particular, is thought to want to establish its own comprehensive Trent service and overhaul site. Senior SIA engineering officials have already suggested that HAESL should be located in Singapore, arguing that the 34 aircraft ordered by the carrier and its leasing subsidiary makes it the biggest 777/Trent operator.

Source: Flight International