Rolls-Royce plc landed Azul Brazilian Airlines as its latest customer, with an order for six Trent 700 and five Trent XWB jet engines, plus an engine maintenance and service contract worth $400 million. The airline, based in suburban São Paulo, recently ordered 11 new Airbus jets — six A330-200s and five A350-900 XWBs — that will be critical to its plan to launch service to some U.S. cities as early as 2015.
The new Airbus jets will be owned by international Lease Finance Corporation, and leased to Azul Brazilian.
The A330-200s will be delivered in early 2015, according to the airline’s statement. These are wide-body, twin-engine airliners that can carry up to 335 passengers.
The wide-body A350-900 XWBs will be delivered in 2017. This is a new family of long-range, dual engine wide-body jets designed with CFRP fuselage and wing structures, and carrying up to 550 passengers, depending on the design variant and seating arrangement.
Azul Brazilian Airlines is a low-cost airline that presently operates a fleet of smaller jets and serves numerous domestic routes. David Neeleman, the airline’s CEO Azul said: "The announcement of our first wide-body aircraft marks a new era in the history of our airline, and we are pleased the aircraft will be Rolls-Royce powered."
The Trent 700 is said to be the only engine specifically designed for the A330, and over 1,500 are in service or on order. Almost 70% of the orders for the A330 have specified the Trent 700 over the past three years, Rolls-Royce stated.
The Trent XWB is an engine specifically designed for the A350 XWB, and over 1,600 have already been sold though the jets will not have a commercial debut until later this year.
Azul Brazilian’s decision to subscribe to the Rolls-Royce TotalCare® engine service support is more evidence of the growing importance of MRO services to jet engine manufacturers and their commercial customers. Rolls-Royce rival GE Aviation recently formed a venture to establish a service hub in Taiwan for the comparable GEnx engines, and announced an agreement with Air France-KLM for MRO for those same engines.
According to Bruce Blythe, Rolls-Royce, senior vice president-Customers, Civil Large Engines: "We are proud to be part of the Azul story and delighted that it has put its trust in Trent engines to power its wide-body fleet. Our TotalCare support will help Azul to maximize aircraft availability and manage maintenance costs. We look forward to supporting the airline's continued expansion for many years to come."
Rolls-Royce has more than $100 million in contracts for its TotalCare service program.