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Lufthansa Operated A380 With Suspect Engine for Past Two Weeks

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it has been operating an Airbus SAS A380 with a suspect Rolls-Royce Group Plc engine for the past two weeks as it awaited a modified version of the Trent 900 turbine.

The engine, similar to one that blew up during a Qantas Airways Ltd. flight on Nov. 4, was given rigorous checks after each trip and posed no safety risk, Lufthansa spokesman Thomas Jachnow said today in a telephone interview. The Cologne, Germany-based carrier first announced the swap on Nov. 18.

The other 15 turbines on Lufthansa’s four A380s are “non-critical” because they’re from a newer batch, Jachnow said, though the airline is continuing checks at least every 20 flight cycles as mandated by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

An oil leak from a misaligned pipe led to the Qantas explosion, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said yesterday. The Sydney-based airline grounded its superjumbo fleet for more than three weeks and has begun talks with Rolls-Royce to retrieve lost money. Qantas, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines Ltd. are the only carriers using the Trent 900 model.

The replacement engine to be installed by Lufthansa is one of the carrier’s own, and was outfitted with a new oil pipe at its venture with Rolls-Royce in Arnstadt, Germany.

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