The industry has been waiting to hear whether Rolls-Royce would join the party - with or without its International Aero Engines partners - to offer a powerplant for re-engining today's single-aisle aircraft.

Finally the UK engine maker has spoken - and the news isn't good. Basically R-R thinks that these proposed warm-ups of 30-year-old designs are a waste of time and effort, and could in fact threaten the advance of all-new designs offering a genuine step-change in cost and efficiency.

A prudent view? Some would argue that it is self-serving given that R-R apparently does not have a viable advanced turbofan available in the required timeframe. As Mandy Rice-Davies famously told the court during the Profumo scandal: "They would say that wouldn't they?"

But R-R must accept that at least two important parts of the market disagree. While Boeing is yet to declare its hand on re-engining, Toulouse is clear that at least some of its customers don't want to wait too long to reap the benefits of the new engine technology - a view that chimes with what Flight International hears.

Indeed Airbus super salesman John Leahy believes it would be downright irresponsible not to pursue these advances given the likely oil price rises.

So R-R needs to try harder if it is to convince the industry that it has made the right call.

Source: Flight International