Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomes historic Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Turkish Airlines deal

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch have welcomed a momentous deal for Airbus to provide 220 aircraft for Turkish Airlines, which will be worth billions of pounds to the UK. The deal includes 150 A321 aircraft and 70 A350 family aircraft, the engines for which will be provided by Rolls-Royce.

The agreement announced by the companies today (15 December) in Istanbul will support thousands of high-skilled jobs across the UK, helping to boost exports and grow the economy.

A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK. All the wings will be designed in Filton, Bristol, and assembled in North Wales, supporting hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the UK aerospace supply chain.

The new A350 aircraft will also be exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby, and will deliver 25 percent lower CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft.

In 2022 the UK’s world-class aerospace sector contributed £10.9 billion to the UK economy, exported around 70 percent of its domestic output and directly employed 108,000 high-skilled people, 90 percent of which are outside London and the South East. It is also a leading sector for high value apprenticeships, with 5,200 currently employed in sector.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “This landmark deal between Turkish Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector.

“Meeting the growing demand in aviation will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can continue growing the economy – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country.

“The UK is already a top investment destination, and by strengthening trade ties with growing economic powers like Turkey we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation as we build on the record-breaking Global Investment Summit we hosted in London last month.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said, “This is a big win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one that will help secure high-skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth.

“This deal is just the latest in a long line of wins for UK manufacturing, following Nissan’s £2 billion investment in electric vehicle production in Sunderland and Tata committing £4 billion in a new UK gigafactory.

“These successes show our plan for British manufacturing is working, and our recently released Advanced Manufacturing Plan will ensure the wins keep coming.”

The Government has and continues to provide financial support to Airbus and Rolls-Royce to develop their civil aircraft and Trent engine families respectively, through the £1.37 billion government-industry Aerospace Technology Institute Programme, keeping the UK at the forefront of global aerospace innovation.

Rolls-Royce plc CEO Tufan Erginbilgic said, “Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly historic day for Rolls-Royce. It is proof that the actions we are taking to transform Rolls-Royce into a high performing and competitive company underpinned by profitable growth are working.

“The Trent XWB is the perfect engine platform to support Turkish Airlines as it continues to grow. This order will make Turkish Airlines the largest Trent XWB operator in the world, and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce.

“Türkiye is a strategically important market for us, and it is imperative to develop long-term partnerships with the airline and other important Turkish stakeholders.

“We look forward to working with Turkish Airlines as they continue to connect their passengers across global communities and cultures.”

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