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Rolls-Royce to encourage competition in Trent engine repairs

[PRAGUE] Rolls-Royce plans to introduce more competition into the engine overhaul network for its Trent engines that power wide-body airliners, a senior executive said.

The move addresses demands from aircraft investors who have called for an independent second-hand market to help them release the value of assets as jets get older, bringing it closer to the free market for the most popular narrowbody jets.

Chief Customer Officer Dominic Horwood told financiers in Prague on Tuesday that Rolls-Royce would make announcements in the coming months that would "introduce more competition and independence" into the Trent engine overhaul network. "New shops will be based all across the world," Horwood said, adding that growth would come from independent operators rather than Rolls-Royce or its joint ventures.

Rolls-Royce will also expand its services business, including by offering to manage fleet fuel for airlines, he told the Istat Europe aircraft finance conference.

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He also said that Rolls-Royce had won customers for a variant of its flagship services product specially adapted to aircraft nearing the end of their life, known as TotalCareFlex.

He said Rolls-Royce would work with leasing companies to help them move large aircraft and would buy some assets.

There have been concerns about the residual value of planes and engines of wide-body jets such as Boeing 777s and A380 superjumbos, as well as some older Airbus A330s.

The announcement came as the industry gears up for expanding jetliner and engine production, while older engines come up for repairs and break-up into parts that can be traded.