The formidable growth of Norwegian Air Shuttle continues, with a capacity of 36 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. But problems with the engines on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft could affect its ambitious plans for 2018, the airline said.
The airline made a loss of 46.2 million Norwegian krone (£4.16m) between January and March, a tiny figure compared with the NOK 1.49bn (£134m) loss in the same period of last year. But the result was “positively affected by a financial gain from reclassification of the investment in Norwegian Finans Holding of NOK 1.9bn”.
Growth plans for 2018 could be hit by problems of a batch of Rolls Royce Trent engines fitted to some of Norwegian’s 787 aircraft. Parts are wearing out much faster than expected, and European and US safety regulators are imposing restrictions on the operations of the affected Dreamliner aircraft.
There are in fact two engine issues. Two parts of about 380 Rolls-Royce engines on Boeing 787s that have potentially serious problems. The “Package C” variants of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s are on some planes used by airlines including Air New Zealand, ANA, British Airways, LATAM, and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Norwegian. There’s been concern about corrosion of turbine blades towards the back of the engines since 2016, and a replacement program is in place. Rolls-Royce has said that extra checks on one of its plane engines will add unexpected costs and cause further disruption for airlines.
In an embarrassment for one of the UK’s top engineering groups, the company said more inspections would be needed to tackle problems with its Trent 1000 engines, which are used on Boeing’s Dreamliner 787.
The airline said: “Norwegian and several airlines worldwide have unfortunately been forced to conduct extraordinary inspections on a number of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft due to issues with the specified type of Rolls Royce engines. This will affect our operations going forward, but it is too early to predict the scale of the issue.”
Norwegian was recently revealed to be a possible acquisition target for IAG, the parent company of British Airways, which has bought a 4.6% share in the airline
The airline said it was also considering other expressions of interest: “The Norwegian Board of Directors has established a steering committee and engaged financial and judicial advisors to review the situation, handle relevant enquiries, and to safeguard the interests of all shareholders.”
The start of many future routes has been cancelled or postponed, like Milan Malpensa (MXP) – Los Angeles (LAX), which was planned for next June.
Featured image by Ljosmynd/Norwegian via mbl.is