Tuesday, July 12, 2016

News: Rolls-Royce wins £700m Virgin Atlantic order

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World-renowned engineers, Rolls-Royce, has hit the ground running at the Farnborough Airshow by announcing a $900m order from Virgin Atlantic for Trent XWB engines for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Becoming the latest aircraft in its fleet, operating from both London Heathrow and Gatwick airports, the airline is purchasing eight A350-1000s for deliveries commencing in 2019, and four new aircraft on long term leases from ALC from 2020, including a lease "option" for a fifth aircraft.

The order covers engines and TotalCare for twelve aircraft, including for four leased aircraft, with engines already ordered.

The Trent XWB is the world's most efficient engine flying today, and first powered the A350 XWB into service in January 2015. Assembled in Derby, UK, the Trent XWB is the fastest-selling wide-body engine with more than 1,600 engines sold to 42 customers.

Almost half of the value of the Trent XWB engine consists of parts made in the UK by Rolls-Royce and its suppliers. This includes key parts manufactured at Rolls-Royce's £110m Rotherham facility.

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The most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world was officially opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham in 2014. When fully operational in 2017, the 150,000 sq ft facility will employ 150 people and have the capacity to manufacture more than 100,000 single crystal turbine blades a year.

There are two types of turbine blade manufactured at the Rotherham facility: high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) single crystal blades. The blades are "grown" in a special process which ensures that they are created from a single metal crystal to maximise their strength. These SX blades generate the power of a Formula 1 racing car.

Eric Schulz, president - Civil Aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: "Virgin Atlantic is a great customer which has shown a continued commitment to our Trent engine family and we look forward to the Trent XWB delivering outstanding economics and performance.

"Successes such as the Trent XWB are the result of decades of investment in fundamental technologies, research and development and manufacturing infrastructure to bring world beating products to market. The Trent family of engines benefitted from UK investment in each of these stages including innovations in materials, aerodynamics, noise, control systems and manufacturing technologies."
Prime Minister David Cameron, added: "I welcome the news of Virgin Atlantic's investment. As well as being good news for passengers, it's great news for jobs in the UK. The fantastic Airbus A350 is built in the UK, with Rolls-Royce engines and suppliers across the country. It's an investment in the UK itself, and our world-beating aerospace industry."

The Government has also announced £365m of funding for new UK aerospace research and development projects and major partnership with Boeing to create 2,000 jobs in the UK.

Projects are jointly funded by industry and Government and are part of the work of the Aerospace Growth Partnership which will publish a new strategy at Farnborough setting out plans to maintain the UK aerospace sector's leading position.

The strategy includes a new supply chain competitiveness charter signed by 11 major companies across the aerospace sector, including Boeing, which is a key player in the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Rolls-Royce / Airbus

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