Dubai Airshow

Rolls-Royce Underlines Middle East Importance

 - November 17, 2019 (All day)
The massive Rolls-Royce Trent XWB powers the Airbus A350.

Rolls-Royce (RR, Stand 1015), here at Dubai Airshow to promote “forward-looking” technologies, is showing its Trent XWB high-bypass turbofan that powers the Airbus A350 large twin-aisle twinjet. “Digital capabilities ensure that we deliver ‘Intelligent Care’ to customers. Our IntelligentEngine [envisions] a world where products and services are increasingly inseparable, supercharged by digital technology and data usage,” said the company.

More than 160 RR-powered twin-aisle aircraft fly in nine Middle Eastern countries, with over 60 more operating in 16 African nations. There are also 28 Middle-East-based regional- and business-jets with RR engines and around 95 in service in 20 African countries.

The two regions account for about 13 percent of the manufacturer's global civil large-engine fleet. Major airline customers in the areas include Air Mauritius, EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, and South African Airways, and the regional in-service engines fleet is expected to reach 1,800 by 2027.

RR claims a 92 percent share (about 50 aircraft) of the African twin-aisle market backlog and almost half (45 percent or more than 220 aircraft) of that in the Middle East. The company said that an average of 20 RR-powered aircraft are delivered to the Middle East and Africa each year.

In addition, the manufacturer highlighted the two regions’ “transitioning” market as airlines and lessors transfer ownership of RR-engined aircraft. “We see a significant transitions market, particularly across Africa, from the Trent 700-powered [Airbus] A330.”

With aftermarket service sales increasingly a paramount consideration for all manufacturers and suppliers, RR is looking forward to increasing demand for its CareNetwork overhaul services. The in-service engine fleet will grow from 4,000+ today to almost 6,500 “in the mid-term—and even further beyond that,” said RR. “Expansion of our global CareNetwork includes the development of an additional network of overhaul bases, in-field maintenance, and repair providers.”

In the Middle East, the engine manufacturer has expanded its global service network with a new independent Trent 700 authorized maintenance center (AMC) at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Under the nine-year, $6.5 billion agreement, Sanad Aerotech (formerly Mubadala Aerospace Turbine Services & Solutions) will offer engine-overhaul and component-repair services to global operators.

“This agreement demonstrates commitment to an expanded services network [and] our ability to strategically plan greater capacity where we need it,” said RR civil aerospace chief customer officer, Dominic Horwood. The new partnership supports RR's services strategy of “an increasingly capable, competitive, and flexible CareNetwork to maximize aircraft availability.”

Trent 700s power more than 800 Airbus A330s flying with over 80 operators, and the deal illustrates how RR is increasing maintenance capacity through “strategic partnerships with service centers in important regional locations.”

Here in the UAE, Rolls-Royce’s Abu Dhabi customer service center (CSC) in Al Raha employs about 60 people, who provide operational planning and data insight, while also supporting sales campaigns and customer account management. The CSC, which was opened two years ago, is a hub for the manufacturer's airline-support teams based at the region's major airports and has local decision-making authority covering the Middle East and Africa.

Connected to the RR aircraft-availability center (AAC) at its Derby (UK) headquarters, which tracks engine data and provides global engineering expertise, the CSC completed a global network extending across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Greater China, while a sixth team serves worldwide aircraft lessors. The AAC, which has been in 24-hour daily operation for 15 years, provides proactive engine support through advanced analytics and inspection techniques.

Meanwhile, on the development front, RR says that work is progressing on the UltraFan geared-engine demonstrator that is expected to provide significant reductions in emissions, fuel consumption, and noise. The company reports completion of “successful worldwide tests of key technologies, ready for flight and ground testing in the coming years.”

Construction of Engine Testbed 80, claimed to be the “biggest, smartest testbed in the world,” is underway at Derby, ahead of planned commissioning next year. “Equipped with precision x-ray equipment, state-of-the-art data systems, and the ability to test with sustainable aviation fuel, [it] will allow us to validate and understand engine technology better than ever before,” said the manufacturer.

Rolls-Royce also is bolstering its flight test capabilities with last month’s delivery of a retired Boeing 747-400 from Australian carrier Qantas. The aircraft is being converted into an airborne laboratory that will, for the first time, provide the manufacturer with the capacity to test both high-bypass turbofan airliner engines and business-aviation engines.