Rolls-Royce has delivered the 8,000th engine manufactured at its German facility in Dahlewitz, the company announced late last week. Good news in a time of uncertainty for Rolls-Royce and the business aviation industry as the world emerges from lockdown. The milestone engine, a BR725 powerplant, was delivered to Gulfstream and will be installed on a Gulfstream G650ER.
Located immediately south of Berlin, the Dahlewitz facility began production in 1995 and today employs approximately 3,000 who assemble the BR710, BR725, and Pearl 15 engines for various business jets as well as the Trent XWB for the Airbus A350. It is also the company’s centre of excellence for business aviation and houses the development and testing facilities dedicated to the new power gearbox for the UltraFan demonstrator programme.
More than 4,700 BR700 family engines have been built since Rolls-Royce started the programme and the fleet has recorded more than 27m cumulative operating hours.
“We are very proud of this achievement, which comes as the result of 25 years of hard, dedicated work from our Dahlewitz team,” said Dirk Geisinger, director of business aviation for Rolls-Royce and chairman of Rolls-Royce Deutschland. “I’m especially proud of our employees who are committed, even in these unprecedented times, to delivering world-class products and to supporting our global customer base.”
Geisinger noted the unprecedented nature of the current global climate due to Covid-19’s impact. Last month, Rolls-Royce announced it will have to cut 17% of its workforce – around 9,000 jobs. Furthermore, to ensure rapid adjustment, CEO Warren East said that the company aims to make at least half of the job cuts this year.
Despite opposition from unions, financial commentators have recognised the financial necessity of the move. Sandy Morris, an analyst with Jefferies International, said while cuts are an essential step further clarity needs to be provided on the nature of the cost savings.
East said the company would consider taking advantage of the UK government’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, but he noted it would “be a relatively small amount of funding”.
Rolls-Royce has already taken some steps to guarantee itself extra liquidity by announcing in April that it would suspend its dividend and borrow £1.5bn to boost reserves. Rolls also nearly halved its forecast for engine deliveries this year, and now plans to produce 250, down from its previous estimate of 450 engines.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, James Prater, VP Customer Services Business Aviation with Rolls-Royce, told Corporate Jet Investor’s Town Hall, about the benefits of the manufacturer’s virtual reality training programme for its BR725 engine. Watch his comments here.