RollsRoyce Engine at it again. AirAsia Perth-KL plane returns after Engine failure

Major aviation news this morning is about an Air Asia plane from Perth to KLIA2 returning back to Perth due to Engine related issue, some 75 minutes into the flight. Tip off courtesy Ashwini Neetan, who blogs at

What happened?
  • Airline involved: Air Asia X
  • Flight No: D7-237
  • Aircraft: A330-300 with twin Rolls Royce engines
  • From: Perth
  • To: Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2)
  • Souls on board: 359
  • Problem: Some sort of Engine failure/damage causing non-shop shaking (Uncontained Engine Failure)
  • Casualties: None
You can read original news here on CNN or DailyMail or  Telegraph

I am not an aviation expert to comment on this incident sitting at home. May be we will have to wait till National Geographic covers this incident in their future edition of "Aircrash Investigations" to know the full story. Below are some thoughts that come to my mind.

Rolls Royce Engine again: Below are the previous major incidents involving Rolls Royce Engine
1. 4th November 2010: Qantas Flight 32: Airbus A380 with 4 Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines (each cost 20 million USD) developed a rupture in-flight from Singapore to Sydney. This incident forced Qantas to ground its entire fleet of 5 A380s and seek huge compensation from Rolls Royce. A major disaster was averted by the skillful crew who managed to turn it around and land.

Watch the video below

 2. The Dreamliner issue: The rolls Royce Engine on dreamliner had their shares of issues. ANA had to rework on all the aircrafts having this engine [News]

3. China Eastern: Not very long ago, A China Eastern flight had to return to Sydney after a hole in its Rolls Royce Trent 700 Engine casings [details ]

Rolls Royce might be making great cars, but their aircraft Engine gets lot more bad press than any other rival engine makers, such as GE. Hope they learn from mistakes so far.

Prima-facie I feel the recent Air Asia X incident is also because of some sort of fault in Rolls Royce Engine. While a minor error in one of the engines doesn't affect a flight (aircrafts can operate full journey on one engine), an uncontained engine failure like what happened on all above examples carries lot more risk as it can damage other aircraft systems critical for maneuver. Happy that pilots managed to land safely and no one is injured. Air Asia has a overall good record, except a full body loss over Indonesia and few minor incidents like wrong navigation etc. In this incident, AirAsia so far is maintaining "a technical issue" whereas some passengers reported seeing blades missing from engine. If there's a serious design flaw in the Rolls Royce Engine, all AirAsia X routes- from KLIA to Japan, Australia etc and as well as hundreds of other A330s with RR engines are at risk. I've flown AirAsia X to Melbourne and Osaka and have few more trips lined up. How this incident develops is also of personal interest to me. We'll wait to read more news of this incident.

Last year we were stranded in Macau after our aircraft developed some problems. We were treated reasonably well. Check this post to read about our experience. Right now the focus is on how AirAsia manages missed connections and re-arranges flights to all its passengers affected by this incident. We'll keep a close watch on this incident.



  2. Sure. My post purely focuses on Rolls Royce Engines due to repeated incidents involving them. I do not have much comments on the airline or crew at this moment- so far they have done the right thing under the circumstances. Only an investigation can reveal if there're any issues with the airline or crew or something is wrong with engine design


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