Rolls-Royce receives biggest ever Trent XWB-97 order

Posted on 15 February, 2023 by Advance 

Rolls-Royce has received an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, plus options for 20 more, making it the biggest ever order for the Trent XWB-97 that exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000.

Image courtesy Rolls-Royce/ copyright Airbus

Yesterday Air India also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900.

This is the first time that an Indian airline has ordered the Trent XWB and the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. Financial details of the order are not being disclosed.

The order relates to Air India's commitment to order 250 Airbus aircraft, which includes 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft, as well as 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900 aircraft.

Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO, Rolls-Royce plc, said: “Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly remarkable occasion for Tata Group and Air India; the size and magnitude of this order reflects the level of their ambition for the future. I congratulate them on taking this bold step towards becoming one of the world’s greatest airlines and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce to power them on this journey. Air India is the first Indian airline to order the Trent XWB and the size of the commitment, including options, will make them the biggest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. With a dynamic and growing aviation industry, India is a strategically important market for us and we look forward to working with Air India as they connect their passengers across global communities and cultures.”

The Trent XWB will support Tata Group and Air India’s ambitious growth plans for the airline, providing reliability, flexibility and efficiency to its fleet as it takes on ultra-long-range routes between India and the US. The choice of the latest generation of Rolls-Royce engines also reflects Tata Group’s vision for Air India to become the world’s most technologically advanced airline, with a focus on service, competing on the world stage to deliver best-in-class customer experience. With a 15% fuel consumption advantage over the first generation of Trent engine, the Trent XWB goes further on less fuel and offers high performance and reduced noise levels. It is also ready to operate on a 50% Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend.

Campbell Wilson, CEO, Air India, said: “We are delighted to commence this partnership with Rolls-Royce and to have their Trent XWB engines power our new fleet of A350 aircraft. We are confident that they will provide us with the reliability and efficiency consumers expect of today’s leading airlines, and thereby play an important part in Vihaan.AI, Air India’s comprehensive transformation and growth strategy.”

The size of the Air India order reflects the increasing demand for air travel in India, which now has the third biggest airline market in the world and is ranked as the fifth largest economy globally. The rise of aviation has been fuelled by continued business growth, favourable government policies, sustained infrastructure development, rising disposable incomes and the travel aspirations of its young, affluent middle class. Industry forecasts* show that air passenger traffic in India is expected to grow at more than 6% per year and the industry will require more than 400 medium and large aircraft to support demand. This makes India a strategically important market for Rolls-Royce as it represents enormous growth potential for its products and services far into the future.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch welcomed the momentous deal for Airbus and Rolls-Royce to provide new aircraft for Air India, which is worth billions of pounds to the UK. The agreement will support and create new highly skilled jobs in Wales and Derbyshire, helping to boost exports, grow the economy and level up the UK.

A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK. The wings will be designed in Filton and assembled in Broughton – expected to bring an additional 450 manufacturing jobs and more than £100 million of investment to Wales – and the Rolls-Royce XWB engines made exclusivley for the A350 are assembled and tested in Derby.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This landmark deal between Air India, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector. It will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can grow the economy and support our agenda to level up – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country. The UK is already a top investment destination, and by building trade ties with growing economic powers like India we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP said: “This is a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one which will help to secure thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth. It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade. We’re currently negotiating a trade deal with India which could boost trade by up to £28 billion a year by 2035. Export wins like this are another big step to our nations forming a closer trading relationship.”

Rolls-Royce already has long-standing partnerships with the Tata Group. These include a strong supply chain commitment with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for the manufacture of a significant number of parts for the Trent XWB engine in India, as well as several high-precision components for other Rolls-Royce civil aerospace engines. In addition, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) provides engineering services, particularly to support Rolls-Royce's digital engineering and data innovation teams in India.