Rolls-Royce reveals Chinese ambition

Image courtesy of Airbus

Rolls-Royce has revealed plans to build on its share of the Chinese market after the first Airbus A350 aircraft powered by its Derby-built Trent XWB engine landed in the country.

Sichuan Airlines has ordered an Airbus 350 and will start using the aircraft later this month (August).

China is the world’s second-largest civil aviation market and Rolls-Royce says it presents “tremendous opportunities”. The Derby manufacturing giant powers over half of the region’s widebody fleet, with 20% of Trent engine orders coming from Chinese operators.

Paul Freestone, Rolls-Royce senior vice president – customers, civil aerospace, said: “We warmly congratulate both Sichuan Airlines and Airbus on the delivery of the first leased A350 to mainland China. The A350 has enjoyed truly global success and this is another new chapter in that story. We are proud to be powering Sichuan Airlines’ entire widebody fleet and look forward to strengthening our partnership by continuing to provide outstanding economic and environmental performance with these new aircraft.”

The Trent XWB in numbers

– It sucks in up to 1.3 tonnes of air, the equivalent of a squash court, every second at take-off.

– The force on a fan blade at take-off is equivalent to a load of almost 90 tons, the same as nine London buses hanging off each blade.

– High pressure turbine blades inside the engine rotate at 12,500 rpm, with their tips reaching 1,200mph – twice the speed of sound.

– At take off each of the engine’s high pressure turbine blades generates around 900 horsepower per blade – the equivalent to that of a Formula One racing car.

– At full power, air leaves the nozzle at the back of the engine travelling at almost 1,000mph.