UTC throws doubt on Rolls' engine project

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The Independent Online
A TOP executive at United Technologies Corporation, owner of the aero-engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney, yesterday cast doubt on whether Rolls-Royce or its two US rivals would make a profit on engines being developed to power the next generation of wide-bodied airliners.

George David, president and chief operating officer of UTC, said that the dollars 5bn being invested by P&W, Rolls and General Electric was too great for any manufacturer to make a return.

The Rolls Trent engine, which is costing pounds 400m to develop, has captured 46 per cent of the market on the Airbus A330 and 22 per cent of the market on the Boeing 777. Orders stand at pounds 2bn.

P&W, with the PW4000, has half the 777 market and just over a third of the A330 market, while the GE90 and GE CF6-80E have 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Mr David said it was 'not likely' that any of the three programmes would make a profit. 'I don't think three engines on two airplanes where the research and development costs are dollars 5bn is economically productive.'

The Trent is Rolls' biggest engine programme since the original RB211. Earlier this year it launched a pounds 307m rights issue to help to finance the continued development. A Rolls spokesman conceded that the market for the Trent had not developed as quickly as expected but he added: 'We didn't go into this programme without expecting to make money.'

Mr David also disclosed that as part of its dollars 1bn cost-cutting programme, UTC is to shed 4,000 more jobs than planned, taking redundancies to 30,000 by the end of next year.