UPDATE 4-Singapore Air to change oil-stained A380 engines

* Singapore Airlines says A380 engines had oil stains

* Singapore Airlines: engines changes are “precautionary”

* Qantas A380s powered by same Rolls-Royce engines,
grounded

* Qantas to update on its A380 fleet on Thursday afternoon

* Rolls-Royce shares down 7 pct since Qantas engine
failure
(Adds Singapore Air not ruling out more engine changes,
updates shares)

By Harry Suhartono and Balazs Koranyi

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, Nov 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Singapore Airlines
(SIAL.SI: ) will replace engines on three of its Airbus A380
planes after finding oil stains on them, almost a week after
Australian rival Qantas (QAN.AX: ) grounded its A380 fleet due to
an engine failure.

Qantas’s six A380s have been grounded since Thursday, when
a Rolls-Royce (RR.L: ) engine partly disintegrated mid-flight,
forcing the fully laden Airbus (EAD.PA: ) to make an emergency
landing in the biggest incident to date for the world’s largest
passenger jet.

Investigations into that incident have focused on oil leaks
inside the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, the same model used
to power Singapore Airlines’ and German Lufthansa’s (LHAG.DE: )
A380 fleet.

But Singapore Airlines stressed the problems on three of
its 11 A380s were precautionary and unrelated as the oil stains
were different from the oil leakage in the Qantas turbines.

Singapore’s findings may deal a fresh blow to Rolls-Royce,
which moved on Monday to contain a crisis of confidence, saying
it was making progress in understanding what caused last week’s
blowout on the Qantas A380 flight.

“This is a precautionary move to find out what caused the
oil stains.” a Singapore Airlines spokeswoman said.
“Rolls-Royce recommended a detailed inspection of the engines.”

Singapore Airlines said later its other Airbus A380
aircraft were still in service, but could not rule out further
engine changes.

“At this stage there is no indication that more engines on
our A380 aircraft will need to have precautionary engine
changes carried out, but I would certainly not rule it out,”
airline spokeswoman Bryony Duncan-Smith told an Australian
radio.

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For more stories on Qantas engine problems: [ID:nSGE6A706Q]

FACTBOX-Qantas has never had fatal accident [ID:nSGE6A306M]

TIMELINE-Events leading up to A380 incident [ID:nLDE6A31KZ]

Slideshow of Qantas plane: http://r.reuters.com/pum73q

Graphic of A380 models http://link.reuters.com/cab54q

Graphic of A380 engine: http://link.reuters.com/fab54q

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

INVESTIGATION FOCUSES ON DESIGN FAULT

Rolls-Royce shares already lost over 7 percent since the
Qantas incident, while Airbus and Qantas shares both slipped
2.5 percent each. Singapore Airlines shares were little
affected on Tuesday with the stock down 0.4 percent by 0700
GMT.

A spokesman for Rolls-Royce declined to comment.

Experts said the Qantas investigation is pointing to a
design fault with the engine which may not be difficult to fix
but will take time.

“From information provided to date, it would appear to be a
design issue and not a power setting issue. Lower power
settings are not the solution,” said Peter Marosszeky, an
aviation expert at the University of New South Wales.

He added similar engine issues are not unknown to the
aviation industry and a fix could be relatively easy, but it
could take some time.

“Until then, what could happen is Airbus would allow
operators to fly the A380 on a limited basis with restrictions
on the engines,” Marosszeky added.

However, restriction could be a problem for Qantas, as its
routes from Los Angeles to Australia are the longest served by
the A380, and lower power limits would mean weight
restrictions, making flights less economical.

Sources earlier told Reuters that Qantas is reviewing the
way it operates its A380s engines and whether its higher power
settings on take-off contributed to the engine failure.

Singapore Airlines’ three affected airplanes, scattered in
London, Melbourne and Sydney, are being flown back to Singapore
to be equipped with similar Rolls-Royce engines.

One of the jets took off from Sydney around 0400 GMT while
the passengers scheduled to be on the airplane are being
transferred to other flights, a Reuters reporter at the airport
said.

Qantas is expected to give an update on its A380 fleet by
Thursday afternoon. The airline said on Monday it would ground
its six planes for at least 72 hours.

“We are still continuing with checks,” a Qantas spokesman
said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a Boeing (BA.N: ) 787 test flight made an
emergency landing in Texas with smoke in the cabin, the first
incident of its kind, putting additional scrutiny on the
already delayed programme. [ID:nN09123217]
($1=1.291 Singapore Dollar)
(Additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe in SINGAPORE and
Michael Smith in SYDNEY; Editing by Jean Yoon)

UPDATE 4-Singapore Air to change oil-stained A380 engines