Embargo 00:01 GMT 8 Feb
Rolls-Royce is gearing up for an aggressive sales drive, with the derated Trent 700 Regional turbofan it is offering for the shorter range version of the A330 widebody twin Airbus is introducing in 2015.
The engine manufacturer remains engaged in a three-way fight to secure A330 engine business against rivals General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, but the UK company has scooped the majority of available sales in recent years.
Peter Johnston, Rolls-Royce head of customer marketing, fleet programmes, says the Asian market is seen as a “good bet” for the A330 Regional. China – where R-R claims to have secured 86% market share on the A330 – is a particular target. Johnston also foresees strong demand for the lower operating-weight A330 from operators in Southeast Asia and India.
The introduction of the A330 Regional coincides with the availability of R-R’s latest EP2 upgrade for the Trent 700. This offers a further 1% improvement in specific fuel consumption compared with the earlier EP1 upgrade – or an approximately $200,000 annual fuel saving. This also equates to a 2% benefit over the original Trent 700 performance standard.
The derated Trent 700 Regional standard – which is designed to extend on-wing life – could be offered as a retrofit for existing A330s, where an airline has a large fleet and is seeking commonality benefits, says Johnston.
“We would anticipate that large operators will probably want to manage engines across all their fleets,” he says.
R-R is meanwhile offering performance upgrades for other widebody types popular in Asia – namely the Boeing 777-200/300 and long-range, four-engined A340-500/600 families.
As of early January, nine Trent 800EPs had entered service powering 777s, while several enhanced Trent 500s are flying on A340s, says Johnston.
An EP2-build standard is being introduced for the ultra-large A380’s Trent 900 powerplant, which Johnston says was R-R's most reliable in-service engine during 2013. “It’s a very boring engine, which is how we like it,” he says.
Trent 900s are now being assembled at R-R's Seletar factory in Singapore, and the EP2 standard – offering a 0.8% reduction in specific fuel consumption – was expected to receive certification in time for an announcement at the show.
Johnston says the manufacturer is prepared to study deeper Trent 900 upgrades as and when they are required by Airbus.
“When we come to conclusion points we’ll launch new variants,” he says. “If something changes on the aircraft, we’ll be there. If not, we’ll carry on as we are.”
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark has indicated he is seeking significant performance enhancements, as part of the engine evaluation for the 50 additional A380 orders placed by the carrier at November’s Dubai air show.
“We are competing very hard for that Emirates order. We’ll do whatever it takes,” says Johnston.