Rolls-Royce errors hurt airlinesRolls-Royce, maker of jet engines, recently completed a thorough investigation into the explosion of its Trent 900 engine aboard a Qantas Airbus A380 in early November and determined that a specific engine component should be replaced.

Three airlines – Qantas Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Lufthansa – currently use the Trent 900 to power their A380s. Replacing the parts could prove more difficult than previously imagined as supply shortages will more than likely slow down the process. In total, there are 20 A380s outfitted with Rolls-Royce engines – although each A380 is equipped with four jet engines.

The breakdown in supply chain management will ultimately cost airlines money and cause delays in the delivery of new A380s scheduled for early 2011 as any of those planes already stocked with the Trent 900 will need replacement parts. An airline executive told the New York Times that there "may be enough of a shortage of spares now that engines may have to be taken off aircraft that are still on the production line."

Qantas has been hit hard by the engine troubles: following the midair incident, it grounded its entire fleet of A380s. The plane troubles come as the holiday season, the airline industry's busiest travel time, kicks into high gear.
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