TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese carrier ANA Holdings Inc <9202.T> said on Tuesday it could take as long as three years to replace faulty turbine blades in the Rolls-Royce <RR.L> engines powering its Boeing <BA.N> 787s.
ANA said last week that under certain flight conditions some of its 50 Dreamliners have been affected by vibrations caused by cracked turbine blades in the rear sections of the engines, forcing three flights since February to return to airports in Japan.
The carrier has halted 18 flights this month resulting in 82 million yen ($800,000) in lost revenue as it works on the jets and has said it may cancel other flights in coming months.
Rolls-Royce has so far said the problem is limited to a portion of 787s operated by the Japanese airline.
"It is an issue but it's a manageable issue," Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Warren East told Reuters after a business forum hosted by the German foreign ministry in Berlin on Tuesday. "With the more intensive use, the natural wear and tear on the engines happens sooner," he said.
All of ANA's Dreamliners are powered by Rolls-Royce engines. The Japanese airline, which was the 787's launch customer, is the biggest operator of the Boeing plane, with more than a tenth of the global fleet.
Of the 445 Dreamliners in operation worldwide, about 40 percent use the Rolls-Royce engines, according to Boeing.
Other operators of 787s equipped with the Rolls-Royce engine include British Airways <ICAG.L>, Air China <601111.SS>, Air New Zealand <AIR.NZ>, LATAM Airlines Group <LAN.SN> and Singapore Airline's <SIAL.SI> Scoot.
Airlines that order the 787 Dreamliner can choose between the Rolls-Royce engines and General Electric Co's <GE.N> GEnx engines.
Rolls-Royce shares traded down 1 percent at 776.5 pence as at 0919 GMT, underperforming Britain's bluechip index <.FTSE> which was up 0.1 percent. ANA shares closed 0.25 percent lower at 277.9 yen in Tokyo compared with a 0.07 percent decline in the Nikkei 225 index <.N225>.
($1 = 102.3600 yen)
(Reporting by Maki Shiraki in TOKYO and Andrea Shalal in BERLIN; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Tom Hogue and Christopher Cushing)