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Pressure on Rolls-Royce after Airbus incident?

Marketplace Staff Nov 6, 2010
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Pressure on Rolls-Royce after Airbus incident?

Marketplace Staff Nov 6, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Qantas says this morning that faulty engine design is likely the cause of yesterday’s mid-air engine blowout. A Qantas A380 Jumbo Jet was forced to land after one of its Rolls Royce Engines partially exploded. It happened right after the plane took off from Singapore. The incident raised questions
about the safety of the A380 which is the biggest passenger jet in the world.

But now as, Marketplace’s David Gura reports, the engine maker, Rolls Royce is under the gun.


DAVID GURA: Charles Armitage is an aerospace and defense consultant with Charles River Associates.

Armitage: Engines are extremely complex things. They are watch-making on a 10-ton scale.

He says the A-380 is powered by four engines. Airlines get to pick between two manufacturers: Rolls-Royce or Engine Alliance — that’s a joint venture between GE and Pratt and Whitney. It’s a matter of preference, more than anything else. Qantas chose Rolls-Royce for its fleet of A-380s.

Howard Wheeldon works for BGC Partners in London.

Howard Wheeldon: These incidents are extremely rare. They are very serious. And they will be fully investigated.

But he says he doesn’t think Rolls-Royce’s reputation will be damaged. No company is exempt from engine failures. According to Wheeldon, they happen every five or 10 years.

Still, several carriers — including Qantas — decided to ground their A-380s. And Rolls-Royce’s stock price did take a hit.

In Los Angeles, I’m David Gura, for Marketplace.

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