Airline order scrapping to have 'minimal effect' on Barnoldswick firm

Aircraft work at Rolls-Royce

Aircraft work at Rolls-Royce

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE decision by Dubai-based airlines Emirates to scrap an order for 70 Airbus A350s will have a ‘minimal impact’ on the Rolls-Royce plant in Barnoldswick, according to a union representative.

Emirates placed the order as part of a wider deal with Airbus in 2007 and had been due to receive the first extra wide body (XWB) A350 planes in 2019.

The fan blades for the engine for the A350 are build at the company’s Barnoldswick plant, which employ around 1,000 people, although the company announced plans to axe 122 jobs there earlier this year.

Jon Brough, convener for the Unite union at Rolls-Royce, said: “It is disappointing news but I think it will have a minimal impact on the Barnoldswick site, as most of the XWB is now made in Singapore.

“We have already had job cuts announced for towards the end of this year and I don’t envisage this extending that.”

Rolls said the cancellation would be a £2.6billion blow to its order book. The company said it was hopeful the delivery slots would be taken by other airlines but admitted that in the meantime the cancellation will reduce its order book by around 3.5 per cent.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This is regrettable news, but hopefully it won’t have too much of an impact when you consider the size of the Rolls-Royce order book.

“I know that the Government and Rolls-Royce put together a very good package at the Dubai Airshow earlier this year to try and secure more business from Emirates, who have a very good relationship with Rolls-Royce.”

The loss of the Emirates order comes in a year when Rolls-Royce expects revenues and profits will fail to grow due to the impact of defence spending cuts among major customers.

A spokesman for Rolls said: “We retain a close working relationship with Emirates and continue to support their 38 Rolls-Royce-powered wide body aircraft currently in service.”

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