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Jason Sutcliffe: Our Priority for Civil Aviation is to Maximize Value from Existing Capabilities and Position the Business for the Transition to Net Zero

Issue 12 - 2022
Jason Sutcliffe: Our Priority for Civil Aviation is to Maximize Value from Existing Capabilities and Position the Business for the Transition to Net Zero

Aviation Turkey: Mr. Jason Sutcliffe, first of all thank very much for your time. How would you evaluate the current position of RR in the global commercial aviation sector?

Jason Sutcliffe: Well, thank you very much for having me. 

At Rolls-Royce, we believe in the positive, transforming potential of technology. We pioneer the power that matters and seek to deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.

Our priority for Civil Aviation is to maximize value from existing capabilities and position the business for the transition to net zero. We have a large installed product base of more than 5,700 large engines and around 9,700 business aviation and regional engines. We also have a large order book with more than 1,500 new large engines due to be delivered over the next few years, representing 52% market share and supporting our fleet growth expectations in the medium term. 

Today we power the latest generation of passenger aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and A330neo and the Boeing 787. In business aviation, we power some of the largest, fastest, and longest-range business jets available.

We are also seizing new opportunities for growth. For example, the Airbus A350 is powered exclusively by our Trent XWB engines and has been a tremendous success in the market. We were therefore delighted at the Airbus decision to launch a freighter version of this aircraft at a time when there is continued demand for freighter services  .Our Pearl family of business jet engines achieved new successes, with the Pearl 10X chosen by Dassault for its brand-new flagship aircraft, the Falcon 10X, and the Pearl 700 selected by Gulfstream to power its latest ultra-long-range jet, the G800. 

All of our engines are supported by service agreements that maximize aircraft availability, allowing  our customers to provide the levels of customer service demanded by a globalized world. 

Our technologies are also enablers to help us support customers address our global desire to remain connected, but do so sustainably. We are already developing our next generation of gas turbine, creating new levels of efficiency and therefore sustainability. We have pledged to ensure our existing engines are compatible with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2023. And we are continuing to push forward with new technologies and fuels such as hybrid-electric and all-electric systems as well as hydrogen.

Aviation Turkey:  What can you tell us about market share of Turkey's civil aviation sector in your region? 

Jason Sutcliffe: We were delighted when Turkish Airlines selected our Trent 700 engines to power A330 aircraft for the first time in 200X, and since then our relationship has continue to grow and develop, underpinned by our TotalCare service commitment to provide 24/7 engine health monitoring from our specialist operations in Derby, UK, which enables proactive management of engine servicing. Today we now support engines powering 26 A330s and six A350s, with another 18 A350s on order.

Aviation Turkey:  What can you say about the ongoing or future projects you carry out in the field of civil aviation in Turkey? Do you seek further cooperation especially in the field of engine maintenance?

Jason Sutcliffe: Turkey is full of opportunities, and we are committed to support the country to reach its full potential. It is a strategic market for us with its diversified order book and strong business volume. Therefore, we continue to provide our best solutions to support the industry in Turkey.

For example, our long-term partnership with Turkish Airlines (THY) started with their selection of Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines to power Airbus A330s in 2009.  Today, THY is currently operating a number  of Rolls-Royce powered Airbus A330s under the TotalCare service agreement. 

This is more than just an engine maintenance plan, it is a service concept based upon predictability and reliability. It gives our customers a secured cost of operating and maintaining their Trent 700 engines through a dollar-per-flying-hour payment mechanism.

It delivers enhanced aircraft availability thanks to Rolls-Royce’s in-depth engine knowledge that draws on our advanced engine health monitoring.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce powered Airbus A330 & A340, and Gulfstream Business Jets are being used for VIP operations. THY also ordered Airbus A350 aircraft powered with Trent XWB engines which entered into service starting from 2020. 

We have an Airline Support Team at Turkish Technic Yesilkoy facilities providing on-the-ground support to our airline customers in Turkey & Central Asia. We hope to keep working together with Turkish Airlines as well as other airlines by providing our new technologies and services.

In a nutshell, we always look for new opportunities, ways, or further collaborations to make a positive impact in the Turkish aviation industry.

Aviation Turkey: Nowadays aviation industry invests in a future with zero carbon projects. Can you inform our readers about Rolls Royce’s ongoing zero carbon projects?

Jason Sutcliffe: We are now laying out our technology pathway to net zero and committing to ensuring our new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030, and all our products compatible by 2050. 

To combat the climate crisis, we also know that power must be made compatible with net zero carbon emissions. For us this is a societal imperative as well as one of the greatest commercial and technological opportunities of our time. Therefore, our strategy for Civil Aerospace for net zero focuses on improving engine efficiency, enabling the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), and being at the forefront of developing innovative propulsion technologies. 

We are completing the build of a demonstrator of our next generation of gas turbine, UltraFan,  which will be 25% more fuel efficient than the first generation of Trent engine. And that efficiency also means improved sustainability.

It is a tremendously exciting programme for us: the demonstrator engine has a fan diameter of 140 inches, making it the largest aero engine in the world and its very first test run will be on 100% Sustainable Aviation fuel.

The technology is scalable, meaning UltraFan will be available at 25,000lb to 100,000lb, making it applicable for both narrowbody and widebody future aircraft programmes.

In terms of SAF, we are playing a significant role in advocating for its use. That means both reminding the industry that SAF can be used in a 50% blend for flight right not and also supporting efforts to take certification on to 100% unblended SAF.

We’ve committed to ensuring our current engines are compatible with 100% SAF by 2023 and have carried out a number of tests, both in flight and on testbeds, to confirm this.

For example, we supported an Airbus A350 flight, powered by our Trent XWB and on an A380 powered by our Trent 900 engine. Additionally, we have partnered with Boeing and World Energy to carry out a test flight of our own 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100 percent SAF on a Trent 1000 engine. 

We have also incorporated SAF adoption into our services, including our new SAFinity service for business jets, for which Shell is the exclusive SAF supplier.

We are also committed to the use of SAF in our own operations and are about to start using a 10% SAF blend on all our engine testing that takes place at our facilities in Derby and Bristol, UK, as well as Dahlewitz in Germany

Our decarbonization strategy will ensure that Rolls-Royce is not only compatible with, but actively supporting a net zero future. We believe there are few companies better placed than Rolls-Royce to pioneer the vital solutions we need .

Aviation Turkey:  Rolls Royce is one of the important players for manufacturing innovative engines and electric aircraft in the sector, what kind of technologies you are currently developing while protecting the environment?

Jason Sutcliffe: We apply our engineering expertise to maximize performance, efficiency, and reliability to continually reduce the environmental impact of our products and services.  Each year we invest heavily in research and development to maximize performance, efficiency, and reliability; further reducing the environmental impact of our products and services. Our commitment is to continuously improve the environmental performance of our products and services, with a particular focus on lowering fuel consumption, emissions, and noise.

As a part of our commitment, we have an increased focus on electrification and a number of projects underway. Because there are opportunities for hybrid-electric and all-electric applications, particularly in the urban air mobility (UAM), commuter and regional markets in aviation. Therefore, we have been working on an incredibly exciting project called ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) with the UK Government and partners at Electroflight and YASA. It’s a highly specialized challenge to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. Through our ACCEL project, we aimed to build the world’s fastest all-electric plane and develop our electrical expertise. Our "Spirit of Innovation" aircraft completed its first flight. The aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometers, beating  the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). We have now officially broken two world speed records as verified by the World Air Sports Federation. The aircraft also achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometers – 292.8km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record. As well as a stunning technical achievement, the project and world record run provided important data for our future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility (UAM) and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The characteristics that ‘air-taxis’ require from batteries, for instance, are very similar to what was developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation’.

Our electrical power system is also set to power Vertical Aerospace’s flagship UAM aircraft. This will be integrated into the piloted all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, which will carry up to four passengers for 100+ miles at cruise speeds of over 200mph and is on course to certify in 2024. We have also joined forces with airframer Tecnam and Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, targeted to be ready for revenue service in 2026.

In the megawatt class, we have carried out tests on our Power Generation System 1 generator at Bristol, UK, and Trondheim, Norway, using an AE2100 engine – this has provided us with an enormous amount of learning and gives us a technology leadership position for the future.

In line with the commitments we also have made under the UN Race to Zero campaign, we are aligning our entire business model to the Paris Climate Agreement goals, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC. 

 We envision technology acquisition and innovation ahead of customer need, over 20-year horizons. This ongoing commitment to innovation is essential to meeting customers and society’s needs for sustainable power.


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