Is Your Boeing 787 Safe? New EASA Directive Addresses Potential Engine Flaw

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jul 2024

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), as the state of design authority for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, has issued a crucial airworthiness directive (AD) concerning the engine, which is a prominent option for the Boeing 787 family of aircraft. This directive, effective from July 12, addresses a critical safety issue identified by Rolls-Royce.

The Problem at Hand

Rolls-Royce has identified a potential risk involving the high-pressure compressor (HPC) mini-disc anti-rotation block. The concern is that this component could dislodge into the HPC assembly stages 5 and 6 discs and the rotor rear shaft (HPC rear drum) during engine operation. This condition, if undetected and uncorrected, could significantly reduce the safe life of the affected parts, potentially leading to structural failures of critical engine components.

Affected Engine Types and Exemptions

The AD affects eight different Trent 1000 engine types. However, it applies specifically to engines that have incorporated Rolls-Royce service bulletins (SB) 72-G319 or 72-G893. Engines that have the Rolls-Royce modification (mod) 72-AK645 installed either during production or during an engine shop visit, along with the applicable SB, are exempt from this directive.

Safety Measures and Inspection Requirements

Rolls-Royce's Response

To address this safety issue, Rolls-Royce has issued its non-modification service bulletin (NMSB) Trent 1000 72-AK540 Revision 2, detailing inspection instructions. EASA's AD requires operators to follow these guidelines closely.

Inspection Protocol

Operators and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organizations must conduct repetitive borescope inspections of the HPC rear drum cavity and the cavities between each HPC rotor disk. These inspections must be performed within 800 engine flight cycles (EFC), with one EFC defined as a single takeoff and landing. Subsequent inspections must not exceed 800 EFC intervals.

If any missing or loose HPC mini-disc anti-rotation block or any foreign object is detected during an inspection, the engine must be removed from service before the next flight. Rolls-Royce will provide applicable repair instructions for such cases.

Alternative Compliance for EHM Users

For operators utilizing Rolls-Royce’s Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) service, EASA has outlined an alternative compliance method, providing flexibility in managing the inspections and ensuring the safety of operations.

Impact on Boeing 787 Operators

Current Fleet Status

According to ch-aviation data, there are currently 78 Boeing 787-8 aircraft equipped with the eight affected Trent 1000 engine types. It remains unclear how many of these aircraft have the mod 72-AK645 applied. The last Boeing 787 delivered with one of these engines was to EL AL, registered as 4X-ERC, in February 2020.

Notable Cases

The directive also covers two ex-Norwegian Boeing 787s that were scrapped at Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK), making them the first commercial 787s to be parted out. Another Boeing 787-8, previously registered as N947BA, was scrapped at Roswell Air Center (ROW) in March. However, this aircraft was powered by General Electric (GE) GEnx engines, which are not affected by the directive.

Ensuring Ongoing Safety

Compliance and Vigilance

EASA's directive underscores the importance of continuous vigilance and strict adherence to inspection protocols to ensure the ongoing safety of Boeing 787 operations. By complying with these requirements, operators can effectively mitigate the risk posed by the identified issue.

Collaboration for Safety

This directive highlights the critical role of collaboration between regulatory authorities, manufacturers, and operators in maintaining aviation safety. By working together and following the outlined measures, the aviation industry can continue to uphold the highest safety standards.


The new EASA airworthiness directive for Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines marks a significant step in addressing potential safety concerns for Boeing 787 aircraft. Through rigorous inspections and adherence to prescribed maintenance protocols, operators can ensure the continued safety and reliability of their fleets. As always, the aviation industry's commitment to safety remains paramount, safeguarding the skies for all passengers.

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The Ultimate Guide to Navigating the 4th of July Travel Surge

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jul 2024

As the 4th of July approaches, Americans are gearing up for a long weekend filled with celebrations and travel. Airports nationwide are bracing for an influx of passengers, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) predicting to screen over 28 million passengers, marking a 5.4% increase from last year. Here's what you need to know to navigate the busiest travel period of the summer.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Leads the Way

LAX is preparing to handle approximately 900,000 passengers between July 1st and July 8th. With such high volumes expected, the TSA has ensured that all airport teams are fully staffed and well-prepared. Wait times are projected to be under 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes and under 30 minutes for regular lanes.

Insights from TSA Administrator David Pekoske

David Pekoske, TSA Administrator, stated, "We expect this summer to be our busiest ever, especially during the Independence Day holiday. Compared to last year, we have reduced our attrition rates by almost half and increased our recruiting due to the TSA Compensation Plan funded by Congress and signed by President Biden."

A Record-Breaking Start to the Summer

The past two months have seen TSA screen record numbers of passengers. Seven of the top 10 busiest days ever recorded by the TSA occurred in May and June of 2024. This trend indicates that airport security teams will face immense challenges this holiday weekend.

Peak Travel Days: July 5th and 7th

The TSA forecasts that July 5th and 7th will be the busiest days, with over 3 million passengers expected to travel through 434 airports nationwide. To ensure a smooth travel experience, Ontario International Airport (ONT) advises domestic passengers to arrive two hours before departure and international passengers to arrive three hours before departure.

Standardized Screening Protocols Across Airports

Despite varying screening technologies, the TSA assures that screening protocols are standardized to maximize passenger safety. This uniformity is crucial for maintaining high safety standards while accommodating the increased passenger volume.

Technological Advancements Enhance Passenger Experience

To handle the surge in passenger numbers, the TSA has been investing in advanced screening technologies. Earlier this month, CLEAR, a biometric security provider in partnership with the TSA, announced the rollout of 10 new PreCheck Enrollment pods at airports across the US. These pods aim to streamline the screening process and will soon be operational at more airports with extended hours.

Expansion of Facial Recognition Technology

In addition to CLEAR's advancements, the TSA has been expanding the use of facial recognition technology to screen non-PreCheck passengers. Currently operational in 84 airports, the TSA aims to implement this technology in up to 430 airports, ensuring a smoother and faster screening process.

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Is India's Aviation Sector Set to Soar with Innovative Leasing Strategies?

India's aviation industry is experiencing an unprecedented resurgence. Following a steep decline during the pandemic, international passenger traffic has rebounded remarkably. According to recent data, the number of international passengers in India soared to approximately 70 million in fiscal 2024, up from a mere 10 million in the pandemic-stricken fiscal 2021. This surge signals a robust recovery and highlights the sector's potential for future growth.

Increasing Market Share of Indian Airlines

Credit rating agency CRISIL predicts that the market share of Indian airlines in international passenger traffic, encompassing originating, terminating, or transitioning flights through India, will surge by 700 basis points to reach 50% by 2028, up from the current 43%. This anticipated growth necessitates significant fleet expansion and the introduction of new international routes by major Indian carriers.

Challenges and Solutions in Fleet Expansion

Supply Chain Disruptions and Grounding of Aircraft

Despite the promising outlook, Indian carriers face several challenges, including supply chain disruptions and aircraft groundings. These issues have prompted airlines to explore innovative leasing solutions and new financial models to meet their fleet expansion needs.

Wet and Dry Leases: Traditional Methods

Wet and dry leases have traditionally been the go-to methods for fleet expansion. However, these leasing options are influenced by factors such as liquid credit markets, interest rates, and competitiveness. Favorable market conditions enable airlines to secure better borrowing terms, lower interest rates, and more flexible payment plans. Nonetheless, the reliance on market liquidity can be a double-edged sword, leading airlines to consider alternative options like sale-and-leaseback arrangements.

The Appeal of Sale-and-Leaseback Arrangements

Understanding Sale-and-Leaseback

In a sale-and-leaseback arrangement, an airline purchases an aircraft at a favorable price, sells it to a lessor at a profit, and then leases it back for its use. "The key benefit of this model," says Mr. Jaideep Mirchandani, chairman of Sky One, "is that the initial sale provides the airline with an immediate influx of cash. This cash can be directed towards operational needs, debt reduction, or further investment." Additionally, leasing back a new aircraft reduces maintenance costs and enhances fuel efficiency, significantly lowering operational expenses.

Ensuring Profitability and Managing Risks

For a sale-and-leaseback arrangement to be beneficial, airlines must secure aircraft at competitive prices. A profit can be realized only if the initial purchase price is low, which depends on various market factors. However, over-reliance on this model may lead to fewer owned assets, raising concerns among investors and creditors. Hence, airlines must balance this strategy with prudent financial planning to mitigate risks.

Future Prospects and Customized Leasing Solutions

Growing Demand for Wide-Body Aircraft

The demand for wide-body aircraft among Indian airlines is expected to drive significant growth in the leasing segment this fiscal year. This demand is fueled by the need to expand fleet size for international routes. Lessors are likely to respond with more customized leasing solutions tailored to the specific needs of Indian carriers. "We may see flexible lease durations, attractive lease terms, comprehensive maintenance packages, and other cost-effective solutions to tap into the potential of India’s civil aviation growth," says Mr. Mirchandani.

Innovative Leasing Strategies

Customized leasing solutions may include flexible lease durations, attractive lease terms, comprehensive maintenance packages, and other cost-effective options. These strategies will enable lessors to tap into the potential of India's burgeoning civil aviation market and support the continued growth of the sector.


India's aviation sector is on a trajectory of rapid growth, with innovative leasing strategies playing a crucial role in supporting fleet expansion and meeting the rising demand for international travel. As airlines navigate the challenges of supply chain disruptions and market volatility, sale-and-leaseback arrangements and customized leasing solutions offer promising avenues for sustained growth. With the right financial models and strategic planning, India's aviation industry is set to soar to new heights.

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Boeing in Hot Water: NTSB Warns of Sanctions Over 737 MAX Investigation Leak

Abhishek Nayar

29 Jun 2024

In a dramatic turn of events, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a stern warning to Boeing regarding its involvement in the investigation of a mid-air blowout on a 737 MAX aircraft. This comes after the aerospace giant allegedly violated investigative protocols by releasing non-public information to the media and speculating on possible causes of the incident.

The Incident: What Happened?

On January 5, an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 experienced a door plug blowout mid-flight due to four missing bolts. This serious safety incident has triggered a thorough investigation by the NTSB to determine the root cause and prevent future occurrences. However, Boeing's actions have now put its role in this investigation at risk.

NTSB's Strong Warning

In a letter addressed to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, NTSB Office of Aviation Safety Director Timothy LeBaron highlighted the severity of Boeing's breach. During a factory tour attended by numerous journalists, a Boeing executive disclosed sensitive information and made unfounded speculations about the cause of the door plug blowout.

LeBaron emphasized that this violation of federal regulations could result in Boeing being removed from the investigation. Such a move would prevent the company from participating in future probe activities, a significant setback for Boeing.

Previous Warnings Ignored

This isn't the first time Boeing has found itself in hot water with the NTSB. The board had previously cautioned the company on March 13 regarding inappropriate comments made by its representatives. Despite this, Elizabeth Lund, Boeing's Senior Vice President of Quality, provided statements to the media that were either inaccurate or unknown to the NTSB, exacerbating the situation.

Boeing's Response and Sanctions

Boeing has yet to comment directly on the recent letter from the NTSB. However, the company did issue an earlier apology after the NTSB sanctioned it over the unauthorized remarks. As a result of these breaches, Boeing will no longer have access to information generated during the NTSB's investigation. Furthermore, Boeing will be barred from questioning other participants during the upcoming hearing on August 6-7.

Subpoenas and DOJ Involvement

To ensure the integrity of the investigation, the NTSB plans to subpoena Boeing witnesses for the hearing, including Elizabeth Lund. Additionally, the NTSB has decided to refer Boeing's conduct to the Department of Justice (DOJ). This comes on the heels of the DOJ's statement in May, indicating that Boeing had violated a 2021 settlement agreement regarding its interactions with the Federal Aviation Administration before the fatal MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Additional Concerns: The Southwest "Dutch Roll" Incident

In a related issue, Boeing Chief Engineer Howard McKenzie made prohibited comments during a U.S. Senate hearing about a "Dutch roll" incident involving a Southwest Airlines 737 MAX. McKenzie claimed that the incident was unrelated to design or manufacturing flaws, a statement that the NTSB has not yet substantiated. The NTSB continues to investigate this incident, which involves lateral asymmetric movements that pose significant safety risks.

The Road Ahead

Boeing's repeated infractions have put the company in a precarious position with regulatory bodies. The potential loss of party status in the NTSB investigation could significantly impact Boeing's ability to influence and respond to safety findings. With the NTSB and DOJ now closely scrutinizing Boeing's actions, the company's next steps will be crucial in rebuilding trust and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.


Boeing's challenges continue to mount as it navigates the fallout from the 737 MAX incidents and the latest NTSB investigation. The aerospace giant must now tread carefully, adhering strictly to investigative protocols and demonstrating a commitment to transparency and safety. The upcoming hearings and further investigations will be critical in determining the future of Boeing's involvement in aviation safety oversight.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Is AirAsia Set to Take Off in Vietnam?

Abhishek Nayar

29 Jun 2024

AirAsia Aviation Group is once again considering establishing a standalone Vietnamese operation, as confirmed by CEO Bo Lingam in a recent interview with Bloomberg. This potential venture marks a renewed interest in Vietnam, a market dominated by local giants Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air. The prospect raises curiosity about how AirAsia plans to navigate the competitive landscape and what it means for the broader Southeast Asian aviation market.

Revisiting Vietnam: A Strategic Move?

AirAsia's renewed interest in Vietnam is not a novel idea. Previously, the company has explored launching an airline in the country and even considered Singapore as a potential market. However, the focus is firmly back on Vietnam, with Lingam emphasizing the company's strategic interest in Southeast Asia and ruling out expansions beyond the region. This decision aligns with AirAsia's goal to strengthen its presence in a rapidly growing aviation market.

Capital A's Vision and AirAsia's Southeast Asian Network

AirAsia Aviation Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capital A, manages a diverse portfolio of airlines, including AirAsia Cambodia, Thai AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, and the AirAsia X brands. Capital A also operates AirAsia Bhd, which will soon merge with AirAsia Aviation Group to form a new entity, AirAsia Group Sdn Bhd. Lingam is set to lead this newly consolidated group, focusing on maximizing synergies and expanding market reach.

The Competitive Landscape in Vietnam

Vietnam's aviation market is currently dominated by Vietnam Airlines and VietJetAir, holding market shares of 38.01% and 37.53%, respectively, based on weekly seat availability data from ch-aviation. In contrast, Malaysia's AirAsia holds a 1% market share, while Thai AirAsia accounts for 0.87%. Despite their smaller shares, AirAsia's entry as a standalone carrier could disrupt the status quo, leveraging its low-cost model and extensive regional network.

AirAsia's Potential Impact on the Vietnamese Market

While Bo Lingam did not provide a specific timeline for establishing an AirAsia-branded carrier in Vietnam, the move could significantly impact the market. AirAsia's low-cost model, combined with its brand recognition and operational efficiency, could attract price-sensitive travelers and intensify competition. This entry could also benefit consumers through lower fares and improved service options, further stimulating the aviation market in Vietnam.

What Lies Ahead?

The exact plans and timeline for AirAsia's standalone operation in Vietnam remain undisclosed. However, the renewed interest signals AirAsia's commitment to exploring opportunities in Southeast Asia's dynamic aviation sector. As the industry continues to recover from the pandemic, AirAsia's strategic moves will be closely watched by competitors, investors, and consumers alike.

In conclusion, AirAsia's potential entry into the Vietnamese market is a development worth monitoring. It represents not just an expansion strategy but a bold step in reshaping the competitive landscape of Southeast Asia's aviation industry. Will AirAsia's low-cost model win over Vietnamese travelers, or will the established local giants maintain their dominance? Only time will tell.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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Qatar Airways Eyes Significant Stake in Virgin Australia

Abhishek Nayar

29 Jun 2024

In a move that could reshape the aviation landscape, Qatar Airways is reportedly in discussions to acquire up to a 20% stake in Virgin Australia, according to sources cited by Australia’s Financial Review. This potential deal, expected to be announced in early July 2024, marks a significant development for both airlines and could enhance their competitive positions globally.

Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia: Strengthening Ties

A Strategic Partnership

Qatar Airways' interest in Virgin Australia is not entirely surprising, given the existing partnership between the two carriers. This collaboration facilitates the flow of passengers between Qatar Airways' extensive global network and Virgin Australia’s robust domestic presence, covering 30 Australian destinations. By acquiring a significant stake, Qatar Airways aims to further strengthen this cooperation, enhancing connectivity and customer experience.

Comparative Industry Dynamics

This move mirrors the successful partnership between Emirates and Qantas, which has been instrumental in boosting traffic between Australia and various global destinations. By deepening ties with Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways could leverage similar synergies to expand its footprint and offer more seamless travel options for passengers.

Historical Context and Financial Background

Bain Capital’s Role

Virgin Australia was acquired by private equity group Bain Capital in 2020 for A$3.5 billion (US$2.45 billion) amidst the financial turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline has since undergone a significant restructuring process, which included staff reductions and fleet downsizing. Today, Virgin Australia operates a fleet of 87 Boeing 737 aircraft, comprising a mix of –700, -800, and MAX versions.

IPO Delays and Strategic Decisions

Bain Capital has been contemplating an initial public offering (IPO) for Virgin Australia, although the decision has been repeatedly delayed. The potential equity stake acquisition by Qatar Airways could influence these plans, adding another layer of complexity to Virgin Australia's financial and operational strategies.

Regulatory Hurdles and Governmental Oversight

Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board

Any significant equity transaction involving a foreign entity requires approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). The Australian government, which has had a somewhat contentious relationship with Qatar Airways due to its restrictive market access policies, will have the final say on this deal. The outcome of this review will be crucial in determining the feasibility of the proposed acquisition.

Market Access and Strategic Implications

The acquisition's success will depend on how well Qatar Airways navigates the regulatory landscape and addresses any concerns raised by the Australian government. A positive outcome could lead to enhanced market access and a stronger competitive position for both airlines.

Future Prospects and Industry Impact

Enhanced Connectivity and Customer Experience

If the deal goes through, passengers can expect improved connectivity between Australia and international destinations, thanks to the combined networks of Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia. This enhanced cooperation could lead to more flight options, better schedules, and potentially lower fares due to increased competition.

Competitive Dynamics

The aviation industry is highly competitive, and strategic partnerships like this one can significantly alter market dynamics. By securing a stake in Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways could bolster its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, challenging other major players and driving further innovations in the industry.


Qatar Airways' potential acquisition of a 20% stake in Virgin Australia represents a strategic move aimed at strengthening its global network and competitive edge. While the deal is subject to regulatory approval and governmental scrutiny, its successful execution could bring significant benefits to passengers and reshape the aviation industry's competitive landscape. As we await the final decision, the industry watches closely, anticipating the potential impacts of this landmark partnership.