R-R sees no case for substantial Trent 900 investment

Rolls-Royce sees no current business case for further technological investment in the Trent 900 engine which powers the Airbus A380.

Senior vice-president civil aerospace Jacqueline Sutton, speaking at an event in Toulouse, said that recent efforts on the powerplant have focused on improving the engine's time-on-wing and operation in harsh environments.

She says that R-R is "working with Airbus to try to understand what the future is for the A380".

"If we are going to invest in future technology on an existing engine then we will need to see a bit more of a sales opportunity," says Sutton.

"Given the uncertainty around the A380 I don't think the platform is there right now. But we are working closely with Airbus and if that changes we will consider the opportunity."

No engine upgrade features in Airbus's proposed A380plus initiative.

Airbus has declined to comment on reports that it is contemplating a further future cut to A380 output, but insists that the double-decker will continue to be an "outstanding success".

The manufacturer has previously disclosed that it will cut production to just eight aircraft in 2019.

News agency Reuters reports that Airbus has begun exploring the possibility of reducing output further as it waits for a crucial 36-aircraft order from Emirates.

Airbus says it has no plans to trim production beyond the rate cuts already outlined.

Chief executive Tom Enders, says he remains confident in the programme. "We are absolutely sure that this aircraft will continue to be an outstanding success," he says.

Enders says that the A380 handed over today to Singapore Airlines, which features a four-class 471-seat layout, "serves to illustrate how versatile the basic A380 is".