BA Sues Chicago For Trent 1000 Damage

British Airways is claiming roughly $3.2 million for the engine damage on the Boeing 787 aircraft.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

British Airways is suing Chicago authorities for at least $3.2 million, claiming that the city’s failure to clear debris from the runway at O’Hare airport caused significant foreign object damage [FOD] to six Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on three of the airline’s Boeing 787s.

The damage was so significant that all six engines required complete teardowns and inspections, and the replacement of damaged inlet parts, lawyers for British Airways said.

Furthermore, the three aircraft were rendered inoperable, causing the airline to cancel several flights.

British Airways is claiming roughly $3.2 million for the engine damage as well as consequential damages for loss of use of the aircraft.

The airline’s core complaint is that following resurfacing work to runways and taxiways and construction work on a terminal at O’Hare, the City of Chicago, which owns and operates the airport, failed in its duty “to ensure that the runways and taxiways at O’Hare are free of FOD and a duty to ensure that aircraft can traverse the airport safely”.

The incidents occurred almost exactly a year ago, between 30 November and 1 December 2020.

The three aircraft affected were all 2016-vintage 787-9s with Trent 1000-C engines, a type that was previously affected by unrelated service issues

Two years or so before the incidents, Rolls-Royce identified durability issues with its 1000-B and -C engines, which were causing some parts to wear out quicker than expected.

The manufacturer then proceeded to retrofit a modified intermediate pressure compressor to the 1000-C fleet. 

Aviation Week Network’s Fleet & MRO Forecast predicts that Trent 1000 maintenance will rise sharply from $850 million in 2022 to about $1.5 billion in 2023, after which it will decline for a period until its decade-peak of $1.8 billion in 2030.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.