Rolls-Royce to replace Trent 900 engines, exacerbating supply chain disruptionsTroubles persist for Rolls-Royce, the British maker of airline engines, as the full extent of its engine troubles emerged this week. Analysts expect the company will have to replace up to half of its engines installed on the Airbus's flagship A380.

Alan Joyce, the chief executive at Qantas, told reporters that as many as 40 of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines used in the A380 would need to be replaced, even though some have already had fixes. The A380 is powered by four engines; Rolls-Royce supplied the engines for Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa's superjumbo jets. Rolls-Royce has not released cost estimates associated with the supply chain breakdown, but analysts expect its quarterly profit will be affected by the disruption.

Qantas has suffered greatly from the supply chain setback as its entire fleet of A380s has been grounded since November 4, when a midair explosion in a Trent 900 engine forced one of its planes to make an emergency landing in Singapore. Qantas has rushed to rebook flights and redirect passengers as the travel industry enters its busiest time of the year, resulting in lower profit margins.

Rolls-Royce now finds itself in an undesirable position: because of its manufacturing defects, it must quickly replace engines, while concurrently uphold its brand image of quality.
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