Aerospace News – Late January 2022

Rolls-Royce all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft is officially the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having set two new world records which have now been independently confirmed.  At 15.45 (GMT) on 16 November 2021, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph).  In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record.  Both records have been officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation that controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records. During its record-breaking runs, the aircraft, which is part of the UK Government-backed ACCEL or ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ project, also clocked up a maximum top speed of 623km/h (387.4mph) making it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “Achieving the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce.  I would like to thank our partners and especially aviation start-up Electroflight, for their collaboration in achieving this pioneering breakthrough. The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market.

This is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Half of the ACCEL project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.


Airplane manufacturer Airbus has signed a deal to supply Azorra with 22 A220 family aircraft, including 20 A220-300s and two ACJ TwoTwenty aircraft.

Azorra is a US aircraft lessor, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, focused on executive, regional and mid-size, or crossover, aircraft.

The manufacturer, which employs around 4,500 staff at its wing-making plant at Broughton, near Chester, says its purchase is the latest endorsement for the A220 family aircraft and reaffirms the strong market demand for Airbus’s newest single aisle aircraft.


Boeing is welcoming 10 new companies to join the third cohort of Aerospace Xelerated, its UK-based start-up accelerator whose first two groups have gone on to raise more than £50 million in additional funding and create more than 100 jobs across the country.

Start-ups using artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous technology to solve key challenges across aerospace and defence were chosen among 148 applications from around the world for the 12-week program. The start-ups will benefit from an optional £100,000 equity investment from Boeing, introductions to a network of investors and the wider industry.  A Boeing-themed week of meetings and workshops have begun.


Airbus has announced plans to take on 6,000 extra staff over 2022 with sites at Broughton and Filton expected to benefit.

The aerospace giant was forced to cut the workforce when the pandemic hit as production levels were slashed.

Broughton saw its staff numbers fall from around 6,000 to just over 4,000.

But the company surpassed its 600 plane delivery target in 2021 and is now looking to increase production again.

Airbus delivered 611 planes in 2021 – including the last ever A380 super-jumbo.

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