One challenge on the -500s and -600s, which account for more than a third of the in-service A340 fleet and the vast majority of the last airframes built before production ceased two years ago, has been the reported high costs for Trent 500 overhauls performed under R-R TotalCare packages.
The engine maker says it is committed to addressing the issue. “We listen to our customers, and we’re aware of the concerns they have,” R-R Marketing Manager Alistair Forbes said during Aviation Week’s recent MRO Europe Conference in London recently. “We are always looking at ways to make our shop visit costs as low as we can,” and while Forbes said he could not reveal specifics, “we will be trying to find ways to get the costs of Trent 500 TotalCare down.”
Forbes called the Trent 500 “the most reliable engine we’ve ever made,” suggesting that the less-than-expected additional work required during overhauls could play a role in lowering costs for customers.
“Overall, we see Trent 500s as having a good future,” he added. “We’re actively talking to our joint venture partners” like engine shops TAESL and Lufthansa Technik “about how we can keep it going into the future.”
Airbus stands ready to do its part. The manufacturer has extended service goal programs that can push the original A340s past their original design service lives of 80,000 hr. and 20,000 cycles. The latest—certified in July 2012—pushes A340-200s to 134,000 hr. and 25,000 cycles, while A340-300s can go to 156,000 hr. and 31,000 cycles.