Rolls-Royce to invest £150m in UK aerospace

By Nell Walker

Automotive giant Rolls-Royce has announced its intention to invest £150 million in UK civil aerospace facilities; this move supports the planned doubling of engine production, and delivers on the company’s record civil aerospace order book.

This investment will be rolled out over the next few years, and is part of an ongoing industrial transformation that will increase capacity as the next generation of aero engines is developed.

Much of the investment will go towards providing a new facility for the testing of large civil aero engines in Derby, England, including a testbed capable of resting a range of engines – including the Trent XWB which is the world’s fastest-selling civil large engine and powers the Airbus A350 XWB. Over 1,600 are on order from 45 customers in 31 countries.

The large engine Maintenance Repair & Overhaul facility will also receive some of the investment, as well as manufacturing facilities in Derby and Hucknall. Also, despite Rolls-Royce previously stating that the Precision Machining Facility – also in Derby – would be closed, the company has chosen to keep it open.

This investment will help to sustain over 7,000 Rolls-Royce jobs in the East Midlands; the business employs around 22,300 people across the nation.

Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “This investment comes at a time of unprecedented growth in Rolls-Royce. We are doubling the production of new engines at the same time as introducing three new engines to the market. With this investment, we are creating the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our goals, while committing to sustain employment in the UK and I would like to thank the unions for their support in delivering this important package of investment.”

Business Secretary, Greg Clark MP, added: “This announcement underpins the critical role the UK plays within the global aerospace sector. The UK and Rolls-Royce are known throughout the world as pioneers of advanced engineering technology. I welcome the confidence the company is showing in the UK. This is just the type of investment our modern Industrial Strategy is looking to attract. These new facilities are good news for Rolls-Royce, its UK suppliers and our economy.”

Simon Hemmings, Unite Union Chief Staff Negotiator for Rolls-Royce (Derby & Hucknall), stated: “This is a great news story that allows us to focus on the future rather than the past. The agreement we’ve reached shows how companies and trade unions can work together differently to deliver the investment and productivity improvements needed to secure the success of a business for the next generation.”

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