Despite the challenges facing the civil aerospace industry, UK aero engine maker Rolls-Royce's fleet has grown to more than 10,000 engines and it has bucked the global trend by seeing an increase in flying hours thanks to the relative youth of its fleet, which averages only 8yr old.

Many of the aircraft that have been 'mothballed' during the current industry downturn are older airframes with less efficient engines, and this has given R-R an advantage over General Electric (average fleet age, 9yr) and Pratt & Whitney (18yr).

Against a backdrop of a 2% fall in global flying hours during 2002, Mike Terrett, Rolls-Royce president, civil aerospace, says that the company's fleet has seen its flying hours increase by 7%.


At a Le Bourget briefing, Terrett acknowledged the pressures on the industry and said Rolls-Royce's civil engine deliveries had experienced order deferrals, primarily as a result of the SARS virus. But a continuing level of order activity ensured that R-R had now clearly become the world's second-largest aero engine maker behind GE, with a 30% share of the civil market, averaged over the past three years.

This included winning more than half the engine business on the latest generation of widebody aircraft, where firm and option orders for the Trent series totals 1,670 engines from 40 customers.

Says Terrett: "Our business model, based on a growing installed base and expanding activities to support our customers' operations, is continuing to deliver.

Aftermarket services are a growing part of Rolls-Royce business - in 2002 they contributed 44% of total company revenues and that is certainly reflected in civil sector trends.

For instance, 60% of the Trent fleet is currently managed through long-term TotalCare service contracts.

Source: Flight Daily News