British firms snap up orders worth $1bn

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The Independent Online
BRITISH FIRMS were celebrating yesterday after snapping up orders worth almost $1bn (pounds 620m) at the Paris Air Show.

Rolls-Royce,the aero-engine manufacturer, announced orders worth just under $600m from four customers, and GKN Westland unveiled a $380m deal with Lockheed Martin. Rolls is to supply engines for up to 40 Embraer regional jets for the Swiss airline Crossair in a deal worth $220m, and picked up orders worth a further $370m from three aircraft leasing companies for V2500 engines for Airbus A320s. The GKN Westland order is for engine nacelles for Lockheed Martin's Spartan military transport.

Sir Ralph Robins, the Rolls-Royce chairman, said it was under no pressure to do a deal with either of its US rivals, Pratt & Whitney or General Electric, despite the wave of consolidation in aerospace.

He said that with an engine market forecast at 83,000 units worth $350bn in the next 20 years, there was more than enough demand to support three manufacturers.

Since the start of last year Rolls has won 35 per cent of all new engine orders.

Rolls is in talks with Boeing to launch a new, more powerful version of its Trent engine for a bigger version of the 777. It is also studying a new version of the Trent for the Airbus A3XX. Its two US rivals are also working jointly on an engine for the planned large aircraft.