If you’ve flown in a commercial plane, chances are you will have flown in one powered by a Rolls Royce engine. The engineering behemoth makes engines for the Airbus A330 as well as the A340, A350 and A380, plus the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
However, with Covid-19 impacting the aviation and travel industry in ways never seen before, it stands to reason that the demand for commercial, corporate and helicopter engines and parts is falling.
The aircraft engine maker has been hit hard as its revenue stream depends on the payments it gets according to the numbers of hours the planes carrying its engines spend in the sky. The unprecedented situation has led to Rolls Royce scrapping its targets and final dividend as well as cutting salaries and deferring annual bonuses.
So, what is an industry stalwart with a history spanning more than 200 years meant to do during a downturn? Well, step into the fight against the very virus threatening the travel industry, that’s what!
Rolls Royce has been drafted into the “war effort” along with Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford, and seven Formula One teams, to create thousands of ventilators designed by Smiths Group and Penlon Ltd. The whole world now knows how vital ventilators are in the battle to save Covid-19 sufferers.
Medical supply companies have expressed doubt that other manufacturers will be able to create complex medical equipment which moves air and oxygen around.
There are also concerns around the timescale, with the height of the Covid-19 crisis predicted to hit the UK in the next couple of weeks.
The engine maker has also offered a fleet of limousines to support charities and essential services for delivery of groceries and medical supplies.
It remains to be seen whether ventilators really will roll off the productions lines of Rolls Royce and the rest of the consortium in time to help the fight against Covid-19.