Covid-19 causes Rolls-Royce to halt most activities at its civil aerospace plants in the UK

30th March 2020 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on March 27 that it would “significantly reduce all but essential activity” at its civil aerospace facilities in Britain with effect from midnight on that day, and for a period of one week. This was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group assured that it had been “actively” implementing the guidelines it had received from the government, especially those regarding social distancing, and at all its facilities around the world. “Our priority since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak has been to ensure the well-being of all our employees,” it affirmed.

Until now, however, its British manufacturing facilities had remained fully operational. The operational reduction now ordered was to allow the company “to confirm the effectiveness of the measures taken to date and enhance our processes in order to sustain modified operations and activities over a longer period”.

Assuring such sustained operations would ensure that Rolls-Royce would be able to support its customers and vital services – which included air freight carriers – during the pandemic. The group would also maintain its crucial capabilities, which would make certain that airlines would be able to continue to operate.

Rolls-Royce was designated by the British government as a “key supplier” for the UK armed forces. As a consequence, the groups intended to keep all its British defence facilities operational. “We will continue to supply and support the engines that power military aircraft, naval vessels and other vehicles, many of which are being called upon to assist the relief effort, while observing all government health and safety guidance,” stated the group.

Rolls-Royce’s customer base included more than 400 airlines and leasing companies, 160 armed forces, 70 navies and more than 5 000 power and nuclear operators, spread across more than 150 countries. It accrued underlying revenues of £15.3-billion last year, of which about 50% came from aftermarket services. Also last year, it invested £1.45-billion in research and development.