An investigation is underway into the apparent inflight failure of a Rolls-Royce Trent engine on a Norwegian Boeing 787 as it began a flight from Rome to Los Angeles.

Few details of the Aug. 10 incident were available. The aircraft was climbing out of Rome Fiumicino when one of its Trent 1000s seemingly failed, scattering debris across a suburb close to the airport.

Pictures initially carried in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica show at least two people holding small metal fragments and car windscreens smashed by debris from the incident.

The aircraft, carrying 281 passengers and 11 crew, landed safely back at Fiumicino around 20 min. after the incident.

Norwegian is one of several 787 operators that have been affected by a series of problems with the Trent 1000, including “hot corrosion” apparently caused by airborne pollution.  The engines have also suffered from intermediate pressure compressor rotor cracking. 

With an investigation into the latest incident underway by Italian aviation authorities, both Norwegian and Rolls-Royce said they were limited in what they could say about the event.

“On Saturday, flight DY7115 from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Los Angeles (LAX) experienced a technical engine issue a few minutes after takeoff. The aircraft returned to the airport where it landed safely,” Norwegian said in a statement.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our number one priority. We are actively collaborating with Aeroporti di Roma and the Italian authorities in the investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment of specific aspects of this event [by law].”

Similarly, Rolls-Royce said: “We are aware of the event and are working with our customer to provide support and technical assistance. We are committed to working closely with the airline, aircraft manufacturer and the relevant authorities to support their investigation.”

The engine manufacturer said it was unable to comment further.

Alan Dron, alandron@adepteditorial.com