Norwegian Will Replace the Engines on All 21 of Its Dreamliners
Update 1/11/18 12:55pm ET: Both Norwegian and Rolls-Royce confirmed to TPG that contrary to reports by Norwegian media, the replacement of the Trent 1000 engines was part of a commercial agreement between the two in 2016. According to Rolls-Royce, Norwegian's choice to install the Trent 1000 TEN engines on its 789 was in an effort to make its fleet more efficient and was "not related to current in-service issues with the Trent 1000 engine."
Only the 789s will get the Trent 1000 TEN engine. The 788s will also get new engines, but not the Trent TEN.
Norwegian Airlines' entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will need to have their engines replaced. As reported by Finansaviesen, the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that were installed on Norwegian's entire Dreamliner fleet have proved to be far less durable than expected and will be swapped.
Norwegian has 21 Dreamliners in its fleet — 13 787-9s and eight 787-8s. According to Lasse Sandaker-Nielson, the communications manager for the airline, the 789s will get new Trent 1000 TEN engines. The eight 788s will also get upgraded Rolls-Royce engines, however, they won't be of the Trent 1000 TEN variety. Each of the new engines will reportedly cost approximately $20 million or about 160 million NOK. So, for all of the aircraft to be upgraded with new engines, it will cost approximately 6.8 billion NOK — or around $848 million. The cost of replacing the engines will reportedly be covered by Rolls-Royce.
The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine has a history of being problematic. Specifically, the engines were susceptible to to cracks in the fan blades, which could potentially result in the blades releasing during flight. The problem has become so rampant that several carriers have already addressed it. British Airways was forced to cancel flights because of engine issues, ANA replaced 100 engines on its Dreamliners and Virgin Atlantic was forced to ground its Dreamliners to fix the issue.
What makes this potentially more damaging for Norwegian is that the Dreamliner is the carrier's only long-haul aircraft. So, in order to replace the engines on both its 788 and 789 aircraft, the carrier will eventually need to take each of the aircraft out of service temporarily. While the Dreamliners are being replaced, there's a strong possibility that Norwegian will rent aircraft from other airlines in order to keep flying with as little disruption to its schedule as possible.
We reached out to both Norwegian and Rolls-Royce for comment but have yet to hear back.
This situation leaves Norwegian in an unfortunate place. The carrier is considering this move an upgrade to its fleet, but the fact that all of its aircraft will need to be upgraded leaves it in a bind since it will still need to transport ticketed passengers on long-haul routes that are scheduled to be operated by the aircraft. As of now, there's no timeline for the engine replacements. If you're flying long-haul with one of the carrier's Dreamliners in the coming weeks or months, know there's a possibility that you could be flying on non-Norwegian metal — something that's not entirely new for the carrier.
H/T: Norway Today