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Air New Zealand cancels flights after 'events' involving Rolls-Royce engines

[SINGAPORE] Air New Zealand Ltd said on Thursday "two recent events" involving Rolls-Royce Holdings plc Trent 1000 engines had prompted it to cancel and delay some international flights over the coming weeks, making it the latest airline to experience problems.

Engines on its Boeing Co 787-9 jets would now require early maintenance, it said.

Rolls-Royce told investors in August that 400 to 500 Trent 1000 engines were affected by issues with components wearing out earlier than expected, according to a conference call transcript.

Air New Zealand did not disclose the nature of the two events, but the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission said it was investigating two events involving"engine abnormalities" on Air New Zealand aircraft this week.

The Aviation Herald reported on Tuesday that an Auckland-Tokyo flight had returned to its base after take-off due to an engine issue, while plane tracking website FlightRadar24 said a flight to Buenos Aires had returned to Auckland on Wednesday.

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Japan's ANA Holdings Inc and Britain's Virgin Atlantic have also reported issues with the engines over the last 18 months.

Air New Zealand said Rolls-Royce did not have spare engines available while the maintenance work was being undertaken, meaning it would be focused on finding replacement aircraft capacity.

Rolls-Royce said it was working with Air New Zealand to minimise disruption and restore full flight operations as soon as possible.

"It's not uncommon for long-term engine programmes to experience technical issues during their life and we manage them through proactive maintenance," a Rolls-Royce spokeswoman said.

Air New Zealand said it did not anticipate any change to current earnings guidance at this stage.

The airline's shares were trading 1.6 per cent higher on Thursday, compared with a 0.2 per cent rise for the broader New Zealand market.


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