Japanese airline to replace 100 engines on its 787 Dreamliners

Boeing shoots a plane into the air like a rocket
Boeing shoots a plane into the air like a rocket

ANA says it will replace the engines on its fleet of Boeing 787s after a series of engine failures caused by corrosion and fatigue cracking of turbine blades.

The Japanese airline plans to swap out all 100 Rolls-Royce engines currently used on its 50 Dreamliners. The process could take as long as three years, according to spokesman Yoichi Uchida.

ANA said the engine faults have already led to two cases where an aircraft was forced to return to its departure airport -- Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. Similar issues affected a third flight in August.

Some of the cracks are the result of corrosion caused by chemicals in the atmosphere. ANA said the problem gets worse as an aircraft completes more flights.

The airline has already been forced to cancel 18 flights because of the problem, and more could be affected later this month.

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For now, the engines will be upgraded with brand new turbine blades. Meanwhile, ANA said it is working with Rolls-Royce to find a more permanent solution. Five engines have already been repaired with new turbines.

"We are working very closely with ANA to minimize the impact on their airline operation," Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) said in a statement.

ANA shares trading in Tokyo were up by 0.6% on Thursday, while Rolls-Royce shares in London dipped by 0.3%.

In 2013, Boeing's (BA) global fleet of Dreamliners was taken out of service after U.S. regulators said they were not safe to fly until a fire risk linked to the aircraft's batteries had been resolved.

The program has continued to suffer from teething problems and lackluster sales.

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