Aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has secured its largest order in a £6.1bn ($9.2bn) deal with Emirates airline.
The order of 200 engines is a boost for the UK manufacturing sector, whose performance is central to Chancellor George Osborne’s target of doubling British exports by 2020.
The Trent 900 engines will power 50 Airbus A380 superjumbos entering service from next year.
Rolls-Royce’s order book is filling up. The company recently struck a £665m deal with Air China to supply Trent 1000 engines for 15 Boeing Dreamliners. The deals come after a tough year for the group, with a series of profit warnings and plans for 2,600 job cuts worldwide.
The company said the Emirates deal confirms the Trent 900 as the “engine of choice” on the A380. Rolls-Royce has won more than a 50% market share in engines for the superjumbo, in addition to being selected by the majority of the planes’ customers. Its engines have been powering Emirates aircraft since 1996.
John Rishton, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce, said: “We are delighted that Emirates has again placed its trust in our technology, with the biggest order in our history.”
Terry Scuoler, chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, hailed the deal as a “huge boost for UK industry and a vote of confidence in British engineering excellence”.
He added: “The aerospace sector is critical for manufacturing and high-skill jobs, in particular, the many companies that cascade down through the supply chain.”
Adam Marshall, head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said of the deal: “The UK’s strength in advanced manufacturing becomes clear when companies win major orders across the globe.
“Given that manufactured goods still represent a major portion of the value of our exports, we need to continue to promote and support manufacturing companies of all sizes as they seek to break into new markets around the world.”
Describing Rolls-Royce as a key partner, the president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark, said thatcontinual improvements in the economic and operational performance of the Trent 900 had been “decisive factors in our selection of the product for 50 of our A380s”.
He added: “Today’s announcement is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Rolls-Royce, but also because of the significant economic impact that this will have on aviation manufacturing in the UK and Europe.”
The Trent 900 engine powered the first commercial A380 in 2007 and is now used by eight operators in more than 70 aircraft. Rolls-Royce says the engine is highly fuel efficient, with the latest version including technology developed for the Trent XWB and Trent 1000 engines.
The order is a boost for Rolls-Royce, which had its first fall in annual sales in a decade last yearAbout 1,700 jobs are expected to go in the UK.
A Serious Fraud Office investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption is also hanging over the Derby-based group, following claims of malpractice in Indonesia and China.