Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has been described as “a magnificent piece of engineering.” The airplane has been developed in three iterations – the 8, 9 and 10 – with the cost of a single 10 extending into the $325 million range.
The 787 offers the option being equipped with two different engines, and buyers can decide between the GEnx from GE or the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000. It’s the latter that’s got Boeing, and its buyers, concerned.
An issue with its compressor has meant the Trent 1000 – also called “Package C” – has grounded some Boeing planes, due to blades that were wearing out too quickly. Now Reuters is reporting that Rolls has discovered the same issue in another batch of engines – the "Package B” – which will now require one-off inspections of an entirely new group of planes.
Reuters says the problem with the Package C had already grounded 30 planes used in fleets for airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The report says that most customers with Package Cs were also customers with Package Bs, and that many airlines were having to lease other Boeing models to serve customers while they waited out the fix – meaning more of the same as the engine problem has spread, leading to further pressure on these carriers.
The company’s stock took an immediate hit on the news, but it’s not the only uncomfortable conversation Rolls-Royce executives are going to have this week: the company is expected to announced job cuts this Friday, and not just a handful – 4,000 positions are said to be on the chop, which is 8 percent of the company’s global workforce. The job cuts aren’t in response to the latest engine problems, but were planned around the company’s streamlining from five business units to three as “part of a long term turnaround plan.” Part of this effort is a goal of reaching one billion pounds of free cash flow by the year 2020, something analysts say may, at this point, be elusive.