The recent announcement that Emirates Airline has selected Rolls-Royce to provide engines for 50 of the carrier’s A380 superjumbo jets is great news for Rolls-Royce, and better news for the UK economy.
Speaking about the deal, Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates, noted its “significant economic impact”, adding that “as one of the biggest ever export orders for a British company, it marks a huge milestone for UK engineering and manufacturing and confirms our position as a world-leader in the aerospace sector”.
Describing the economic and operational performance of the Trent 900 as a “key decider” in the decision-making process, it is obvious that Emirates have placed great emphasis Rolls-Royce’s ability to provide innovative technology and continual investment in R&D.
Aerospace is a success story for British manufacturing, figures for the first quarter of 2015 show that that delivery rates for the production of aircraft are up by five per cent on the same quarter last year. This represents around £5bn to UK industry, and increase of nearly £900m compared with 2014. Thanks to several years of record order levels, the backlog of work is also up 13 per cent on the same quarter which means factory floors will remain busy for years to come.
Central to this success is the Aerospace Growth Partnership where government and industry work in partnership to identify priorities and establish the best routes to success. This industrial strategy has secured long-term strategic investment from government and industry to the tune of £2bn to progress research, development and product innovation.
One great aspect of this investment is the impact that will be felt across the UK supply chain. From the engine discs which are built in Sunderland, to the compressor components that come from Inchinnan and Barnoldswick; the ripple-effect of this $9.2bn (£6.1bn) deal will be felt across the country. Globally competitive supply chains are critical to the UK’s economic success and further work by the Aerospace Growth Partnership will be to strengthen programmes that support supply chain investment and growth.
Growth partnerships are changing the way major investors regard the UK. A world-leading sector with strong support from its government has sent a clear signal to competitor countries who view the UK’s innovative approach as a significant advantage. To retain this competitive edge ADS would like to see the next government commit to supporting and developing such successful industrial strategies.