It’s been a bad year for Rolls Royce. The expensive and complicated Trent-1000 issue that’s affected 787’s around the world has ben bad enough and a severe drain on its finances and resources, but news broke yesterday that the Trent-7000 series used exclusively on the A330neo is severely delayed in production.
The news was taken by an already jittery stick market, so badly that the companies shares dived an alarming 14% and so quickly, that trading was temporarily suspended until things calmed down.
The demands on engine makers have been almost beyond any reasonable industrial capacity they could hope to achieve – generally and across the board. The skill sets required are advanced, both in human terms and scientific, mathematical and mechanical engineering, as well as software development. US and western countries are generally very poor at drawing in new young people who want to take these careers up, and little is done in secondary education to promote and advanced high-tech aviation engineering roles as even being an option.
Years of educational neglect and the lack of a rolling apprenticeships scheme on sufficient scale, has left staff levels low, highly pressurised by work volumes and relatively inexperienced. Demands have increased as aircraft sales have boomed, but producing engines takes time and a long lead-in process is essential.
Meanwhile the pressure from Boeing and Airbus is relentless as they constantly aim to up their monthly output, without seemingly realising the strain this places on the supply chain.