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Rolls-Royce suspends A380 engine production

Implications for workforce 'being assessed'

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Rolls-Royce has suspended production of its Trent 900 engine for a year in the wake of this week's announcement by Airbus parent company EADS that the A380 "Superjumbo" delivery schedule had been put back for a third time.

The Trent 900 is one of two engine models due to be bolted to the A380 - the other being the GE-P&W Engine Alliance GP7200.

The implications for the workforce at the Derby plant which produces the Trent 900 are unknown. According to the BBC, Rolls-Royce said "it was too early to say what impact the decision to cut output would have on its employees".

The company added: "We are waiting for more details about requirements from Airbus. Once we are clear on that and any potential impact on future workload, we will consult with the unions."

Rolls-Royce did stress, however, that the Derby plant - which is home to 11,000 workers - also made engines for Boeing and Bombardier, and that the Trent 900 currently accounts for only a fraction of the firm's total sales, while all civil engine output "accounted for only about 20 per cent of the company's turnover".

The first Airbus A380 is now slated for delivery in October 2007. There have been mutterings of discontent among airlines waiting to get behind the controls of the behemoth, with hefty compensation claims likely over the now considerably delayed delivery schedule. ®

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