“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a historic shock in civil aviation which will take several years to recover,” Rolls-Royce’s CEO has said in a trading update.
In the update, for the first half of 2020, the company has revealed how its Civil Aerospace business has experienced a significant reduction in demand due to the effects of COVID-19.
Widebody engine flying hours fell by approximately 50% in the first half, compared to the prior year period with an approximate 75% decline in the second quarter.
There has however been early signs of recovery with a marginal improvement in May and June led by an increase in flights in China, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
The company is currently forecasting widebody engine flying hours to be down in the region of 55% this year, with more long-haul routes opening up in the fourth quarter.
The news comes after Rolls-Royce revealed it would be cutting 9,000 jobs.
Last month the firm opened voluntary severance in the UK, including an enhanced early retirement scheme. To-date, it has received more than 3,000 expressions of interest for voluntary severance in the UK with approximately two-thirds of these currently expected to leave by the end of August.
Warren East, CEO, said: “These are exceptional times. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a historic shock in civil aviation which will take several years to recover. We started this year with positive momentum and strong liquidity and acted swiftly to conserve cash and cut costs to protect Rolls-Royce during the pandemic.
“We are taking steps to resize our Civil Aerospace business to adapt to lower medium-term demand from customers and help secure our future. This means we have had to take the very difficult decision to lose people who have helped us become the company we are and who have been proud to work for Rolls-Royce.
“It is my first priority to treat everyone – whether they are leaving or staying – with dignity and respect. We will take the lessons of how we have dealt with this unprecedented challenge with us and position ourselves to emerge as an even stronger company in the future.”