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Aviation: Safety

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Air Accident Investigation Branch's interim report of 13 March 2009 on the incident at Heathrow Airport on 17 January 2008, when he expects the modifications to the Rolls Royce Trent 800 engine to prevent critical power loss due to ice crystals to be made to all aircraft with that engine operating from the UK; and if he will make a statement. (264349)

Boeing and Rolls Royce are already working to develop appropriate modifications to the B777 aircraft and the Fuel Oil Heat Exchanger on the Rolls Royce Trent 800 engine. Once the modifications have been developed they will need to be approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Civil Aviation Authority will then ensure that UK airlines make the modifications within the timescale set by EASA.

Since the accident at Heathrow in January 2008 Boeing has developed a range of changes to the aircrafts operating procedures to ensure that aircraft crews can minimise and manage any risk associated with potential ice accumulation in the fuel system. These procedures have been approved by EASA and the US Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) and have been made mandatory for all US and European airlines. Both EASA and the US FAA are content that, subject to the application of these procedures, B777 aircraft with Rolls Royce Trent engines are safe to remain in service. When a Delta Airlines Boeing 777 experienced an uncommanded power reduction in a single engine on 26 November 2008 the procedures were shown to be effective and thrust control of the engine was recovered.