US issues new restriction on Dreamliners

Air New Zealand engine being checked.
Engine checks will take around two hours. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The on-going issues with Air New Zealand's Dreamliner fleet may mean the return of European airline Hi Fly on some of Air NZ's flights.

Issues with Rolls Royce Trent engines, which Air New Zealand has nine of, means the engines have to be checked more frequently than planned.

Air New Zealand said they are looking into the possibility of bringing charter airline Hi Fly back to cover any delays or cancelations due to the engine issues.

Passengers have been critical of Hi Fly, complaining it falls well below the high standard of service provided by Air New Zealand.

Hi Fly has been unpopular in New Zealand.
Hi Fly has been unpopular in New Zealand. Photo credit: Supplied.

When asked about the complaints about the stand-in service, Hi Fly said passengers should expect there to be a difference on their planes.

"When operating for other airlines, passengers shall expect the highest safety standards and a professional cabin service, but not necessarily the same aircraft type, configuration or inflight entertainment, which can vary significantly from airline to airline. 

This occasionally might frustrate the expectations of certain passengers, used to and loyal to a certain carrier."

The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States has issued a change in the distance a Dreamliner with Trent engines can fly from an airport in case of emergency.

Before the ruling a Dreamliner could fly on any route that would keep it within 330 minutes of the nearest runway.  That's now dropped to 140 minutes, which could mean slight variations in Trans-Pacific flights to fly closer to islands with suitable runways.

Air New Zealand will only be affected by the ruling if it's adopted by European authorities.

Boeing said 25 percent of the Dreamliners in use have Trent 1000 engines. 

Air New Zealand isn't alone.  The issue is also causing problems for larger airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

The cost is piling up for Rolls-Royce. Air New Zealand purchased the engines with total warranty cover meaning the cost of any disruption or replacement aircraft has to be covered by the engine manufacturer rather than the airline itself.