Jet-engine builder Rolls-Royce Plc has confirmed its “firm contract” to supply the power units for more than half of the 100 aircraft that Airbus will deliver to Iran Air, a deal made official last week. Airbus is due to supply 46 jets from its A320 series and 38 from its A330 series, both twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft models; and 16 A350 XWB aircraft, a twin-engine wide-body aircraft.
Rolls-Royce engines are featured on the A330 and A350 XWB aircraft. Rolls did not detail its new contract’s total value nor indicate the number of engines it will supply. Airbus will begin delivering the aircraft in 2017.
Iran Air’s orders first emerged in January of this year once the European Union and the U.S. withdrew sanctions on oil, aerospace, and other commercial trading by Iran, in exchange for that country resolving to end its nuclear research program. The deal also released about $100 billion of the Islamic republic’s frozen assets — clearing the way for large industrials like Airbus to secure new orders.
The orders by Iran Air (to Airbus as well as to Boeing Commercial Aircraft) remain controversial in the U.S. because of the unusual process by which the Obama administration overturned the sanctions, which were put in place by Congressional vote but undone by executive-level negotiation.
Airbus and Boeing have emphasized that their agreements with Iran Air have been coordinated with regulators in the E.U., U.S., and elsewhere to ensure the deals meet the understanding of and comply with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the international agreement that defines Iran’s commitment to suspend nuclear research, and other nations’ commitment to resume trade with that country.
The Airbus A330 family has the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine as the exclusive power plant for the A330neo aircraft, and the Trent 700 is one of the engine options for the A330ceo. Rolls noted that the Trent 700 is installed in approximately 60% the A330ceo jets now in service, and represents about 90% of the engines designated for A330ceo jets now on order.
Rolls’ Trend XWB engine is the exclusive engine selection for the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The OEM designed the Trent XWB specifically and exclusively for the A350 XWB, and calls it “the world’s most efficient large aero engine.” More than 1,600 Trent XWB engines have been sold to date.