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Rolls-Royce eyes supply deal

By ZHU WENQIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-14 08:03
An employee inspects a jet engine at Rolls-Royce's Mechanical Testing Operations Center in Blankenfelde-Mahlow near Berlin. CHINA DAILY

UK aircraft engine maker and GE set to join bidding process in May

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, a British aircraft engine manufacturer, said it will join the bid to provide the engines for the CR929, long-range, twin-aisle passenger aircraft, and the first round of bidding will start in May. The result is expected to be unveiled by the end of this year or next year.

In December, the plane maker of the CR929, China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co Ltd (CRAIC), a joint venture, issued the request for proposal for the aircraft's propulsion system, or aero engines. Rolls-Royce and General Electric, among others, are expected to respond, according to CRAIC.

"We are taking it very seriously. We want to be the engine provider. The CR929 will invite a lot of positive competition and innovative opportunities to the aviation industry," said Paul Stein, chief technology officer of Rolls-Royce.

"China has an ambition in developing its civil aviation industry. Rolls-Royce wants to be part of that ambition and growth," Stein said in Beijing on Friday.

He added that the engineering and technology team of Rolls-Royce has been in close and continuous touch with CRAIC, to ensure the potential engine to be used will best fit the aircraft.

Currently, Rolls-Royce accounts for 45 percent of the power engine market of wide-body aircraft, followed by General Electric Co and United Technologies Corp's Pratt & Whitney Division.

"The CR929 will be an excellent aircraft. We want to offer something we know already, which is the engine with one of the latest proven technologies. We want to guarantee the commercial success of this new aircraft model," Stein said.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce said it is important for industry manufacturers to integrate the latest digital technologies to increase the pace and quality of their products and services. The company is putting more efforts on improving its intelligent engines, which can monitor the performance of the engines and weather conditions via cloud computing.

In addition, Rolls-Royce said it has been in discussion about the potential cooperation opportunities with Chinese firms, including aero engine manufacturers.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China earlier said that it is also trying to research and develop engines itself together with Russia.

In the next two decades, demand for military aircraft engines is expected to reach $150 billion, and the demand for civil aircraft engines will be $1.6 trillion, according to the forecast by Rolls-Royce.

"China's booming growth in international flights requires wide-body aircraft. The country spends a large amount of money buying planes from Boeing and Airbus," said Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc, one of China's largest civil aviation web portals.

"The potential commercial use of the CR929 will significantly help to reduce the cost of aircraft purchases, and domestic airlines will be able to raise their profitability and offer cheaper tickets to customers."

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