EASA to relax tight inspection rules on Rolls-Royce engines.

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The European Aviation Safety Agency will substantially relax tight inspection rules on Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines used by the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet, an EASA spokesman said Tuesday.

The measure to ease the rhythm of inspections suggests that regulators and experts have determined the engine's safety problems are not as widespread as initially thought.

"There is enough evidence today to show it is no longer necessary to make inspections every 20 flights," a spokesman told AFP.

The agency thus plans to revise probably on Tuesday or Wednesday its instructions to airlines that use the Rolls-Royce engine, and now require inspections after 200 flights and again after the next 100, he added.

"We are getting closer to a normal inspection procedure," the EASA spokesman said.

On November 4, the explosion of a Trent engine onboard a Qantas A380 forced the superjumbo to make an emergency landing in Singapore with 466 people on board.

EASA subsequently ordered airlines that use the engine to carry out new inspections, after a preliminary analysis showed an oil fire might have caused the engine's "uncontained failure."

The measure affected Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

Earlier this month, Australian officials investigating the Qantas incident said only three of 45 engines failed the first round of inspections.

Lifting the emergency directive so quickly was a sign that most of the fleet is unaffected by oil-system manufacturing defects.

- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story -

© 2010 AFP

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