The Airbus A380 has had its share of problems both before and since deliveries began in late 2007. On the same day last week, Tuesday, two airlines suffered flight-terminating mechanical problems with the world’s largest passenger airliner.
With its Trent 1000 engines finally in commercial service on the delayed Boeing 787 platform, Rolls-Royce is stepping up efforts to advance further applications of the powerplant. It has started development of the Trent 1000C1 engine, also known as Pac C, that will be able to manage higher loads necessitated by the -9 aircraft’s changed wing and thrust profiles. “It delivers 74,000 pounds of thrust at economic performance levels,” reported Trent 1000 project manager Simon Carlisle in a pre-show briefing.
Fiji’s national carrier Air Pacific has placed a $210 million order for Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines to power three Airbus A330-200s due to enter service in 2013. Air Pacific currently operates a fleet of six Boeings, and this is the first time it has selected a Rolls-Royce powerplant. The contract includes Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare service support.
Rolls-Royce and Airbus are just about to start flight-testing the 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB engine for the A350XWB. Airbus’s A380 flying testbed (MSN 001) has already been fitted with the test engine and requisite instrumentation and is only waiting “for the weather in Europe to warm up a bit,” according to Rolls-Royce chief operating officer Mike Terrett.
The new Rolls-Royce factory in Singapore could be producing half of the company’s large commercial engines by the middle of this decade. The 1.65-million-sq-ft campus at Seletar Airport has cost more than $450 million to build, with some of the funding coming from the island republic’s Economic Development Board. Rolls-Royce managers expect to assemble engines and make fan blades more efficiently here than in the UK, thanks to the clean-sheet, all-under-one-roof building designs.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened Rolls-Royce’s latest factory on Monday. The S$700 million ($555 million) Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus, situated at the Seletar Aerospace Park in the north of Singapore, is designed to double the engine manufacturer’s Trent engine output to more than 500 a year. In addition to engine assembly and test, the campus also houses fan blade manufacturing, research and training activities.
The first 21-meter-long front fuselage section for the Airbus A350 XWB has begun to take shape in Saint-Nazaire, France, where mechanics have begun joining the forward fuselage and nose sections, the European manufacturer announced today. The exercise will continue over the “coming weeks,” said Airbus.
Airbus has collected net firm orders for 1,378 airplanes so far this year, according to the company’s just-released November orders and deliveries report.
Calculating the value of business announced during airshows is an inexact science, but as the 2011 Dubai Air Show came to an end last week the combined sales tally for airliners, engines and support contracts looked set to have topped $50 billion. Boeing grabbed the lion’s share of this through a $26 billion deal with Emirates Airline covering 50 of its 777-300ER long-range twinjets and options for 20 more.
Rolls-Royce has introduced the first of a two-phase performance improvement for the Trent 900 engines that power the Airbus A380 airliner. Turbofans now being delivered to A380 operators have a one-percent improvement in specific fuel consumption compared with the initial units.