Air New Zealand (ANZ) has been forced to wet-lease two aircraft to help it maintain its timetable during the unscheduled maintenance of several Rolls-Royce engines belonging to its Boeing 787-9 fleet. It is chartering an Airbus A330 and A340 from Portuguese charter airline, Hi Fly with the two jets due to operate some Auckland-Sydney and all Auckland-Perth services from December 18.
Anita Hawthorne, ANZ’s General Manager Customer Experience says the airline is working hard to minimise the impact on customers caused by the maintenance. It is thought that around 4,500 passengers were affected during the first week of delays and cancellations. “Once the two aircraft are in service we will be able to operate a near normal timetable,” she added.
The airline encountered problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on two of its Boeing 787-9s forcing both to return to Auckland. The first incident on December 5 resulted in an engine shut-down during a flight to Japan, and the following day an Auckland to Buenos Aires service also had to return to base, although there was no engine shut-down. A spokesperson for the airline said turbine blades had failed on the Japan flight, while the second event wasn’t so serious.
New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission will be reviewing both incidents.
Rolls-Royce had already notified the carrier that some of its 787-9 powerplants would require maintenance earlier than originally planned, and that it was unable to provide spare engines while the work is being undertaken.