April 2, 2019 / 7:28 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Singapore Airlines grounds two 787-10s citing Rolls-Royce engine problem

* Small number of engines need blades replaced early -Rolls-Royce

* Developing, testing of enhanced version of blade underway

* Rolls-Royce in Feb. announced $1 bln engine accounting charge (Adds Rolls-Royce comment)

SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Tuesday it had grounded two Boeing Co 787-10 jets fitted with Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC Trent 1000 TEN engines after checks of its fleet found premature blade deterioration.

The jets have been removed from service pending engine replacement, the airline said in a statement.

The Trent 1000 TEN is the latest version of an engine that has had a problematic entry into service. As of late February, Rolls-Royce said 35 787s were grounded globally due to engine blades corroding or cracking prematurely. The manufacturer said it was aiming to reduce the number to 10 by the end of the year.

In February, the company raised a Trent 1000 accounting charge to 790 million pounds ($1.03 billion) from 554 million pounds at the half year, contributing to a full-year operating loss of 1.16 billion pounds. It also allocated another 100 million pounds in cash to the problem.

Rolls-Royce said on Tuesday that since the entry into service of the Trent 1000 TEN, it had communicated to operators that the high-pressure turbine blades in the engine would have a limited life.

“Working with operators, we have been sampling a small population of the Trent 1000 TEN fleet that has flown in more arduous conditions,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “This work has shown that a small number of these engines need to have their blades replaced earlier than scheduled.”

Rolls-Royce said its engineers were already developing and testing an enhanced version of the turbine blade.

“We will now work closely with any impacted customers to deliver an accelerated programme to implement the enhanced blade and to ensure that we can deliver on our Trent 1000 TEN future commitments,” the company said. “We regret any disruption this causes to airline operations.” ($1 = 0.7666 pounds)

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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