Rolls-Royce unveils plans for more efficient aircraft engines

Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:10am EST
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By Sarah Young

DERBY, England (Reuters) - British engineering company Rolls-Royce (RR.L: Quote) unveiled plans on Wednesday for a new aircraft engine which it said would be up to 6 percent more efficient than its latest model and could be ready by the end of the decade.

Rolls, the world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines behind U.S. group General Electric (GE.N: Quote), said the new engine, which it called "Advance," could be a successor to its Trent XWB which is due to enter service later this year.

By 2025, Rolls said an even newer model, the "UltraFan", could be ready to be attached to an aircraft. This would be around 10 percent more efficient than the Trent XWB, it said.

Demand for aircraft engines, and in particular more fuel-efficient models, is expected to continue to grow strongly.

The world will need to double its fleet of aircraft over the next 20 years as cities expand and Asia's increasingly affluent middle class takes to the skies, planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) forecast in September.

It said airlines, lessors and cargo operators would need a total of 29,226 new passenger and freighter jets worth $4.4 trillion over the next 20 years.

Rolls, which describes its Trent XWB as the world's most efficient engine, said it was confident about appetite from Airbus and its U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N: Quote) for its new products.

"To some degree we've already started these conversations with the air-framers as part of our normal discussions around future requirements," executive vice president of strategy and future technology Simon Carlisle told reporters in a briefing.   Continued...

A Rolls-Royce aircraft engine of a British Airways (BA) Boeing 747 passenger aircraft is seen at Heathrow Airport in west London April 7, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth