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Singapore Air to change oil-stained A380 engines

Singapore Airlines will replace engines on three of its Airbus A380 planes after finding oil stains on them, almost a week after Australian rival Qantas grounded its A380 fleet due to an engine failure.

Qantas's six A380s have been grounded since 4 November, when a Rolls-Royce engine partly disintegrated mid-flight, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing.

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 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 blow-out 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."

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.

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