Rolls-Royce secured an exclusive engine supply deal on the Airbus A330neo after rival General Electric decided not to participate as it could not work the business case.
The current A330 is offered with engines from all big-three engine makers, with Rolls-Royce the lead supplier in terms of current orders, followed by GE. The A330neo is available only with the Trent 7000, a derivative of the Trent 1000-TEN which will power the Boeing 787.
Launch customer Air Lease had been “campaigning for two engine choices”, says boss Steve Udvar-Hazy. He says ALC’s market research forecasts demand for more than 1,100 aircraft in the A330neo’s category through to the end of the next decade.
“Rolls-Royce and Airbus agreed with our position, but General Electric felt that the market was maybe not as large other experts in the industry felt,” he says. “And in the end Airbus and Rolls came together and were able to forge an arrangement that is very satisfactory to the customer.”
GE aviation chief executive David Joyce confirms that the US engine maker talked to Airbus about offering a solution and would have done so if no alternative was available. This suggests that GE would only have been interested in a single-source arrangement.
The A330neo “is a sensible solution for Rolls-Royce, for Airbus and for the industry”, says Joyce, adding that GE’s absence “was the right decision…It was kind of mutual.”
Joyce says GE is unconcerned that it will not participate on the A330neo as “I have got more business than I know what to do with over the next five to eight years”.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce is very happy with its exclusive position, says Rolls-Royce Aerospace president Tony Wood. “Everybody has to make their own business case,” he says. “That’s what we set out to do, and we’re pleased with our exclusive position.”
Additional reporting by Mark Pilling and David Kaminski-Morrow