June 15, 2018 / 11:26 AM / 10 months ago

Asked about a mid-market plane, Rolls CEO says gap in the market for a reason

FILE PHOTO: Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce, poses for a portrait at the company aerospace engineering and development site in Bristol, Britain December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of British engine-maker Rolls-Royce (RR.L), asked about the potential for Boeing (BA.N) to develop a “new mid-market airplane”, said there was a reason for the gap in the market between wide body and narrow body jets.

“My slightly guarded view about these things is that when you have a market in a couple of sectors and there seems to be a hole in the market, quite often there’s a reason for the hole to be in the market,” CEO Warren East told investors on Friday.

“But that doesn’t mean to say that things can’t evolve,” he added.

That represented a somewhat cooler response than he has given in the past when asked about the opportunity, when he has said Rolls would be interested in providing an engine for any new middle of the market jet if doing so made commercial sense.

Boeing is studying a gap between narrow-body jets and long-haul aircraft for a potential new mid-market airplane that could seat 220 to 260 passengers. Currently Rolls-Royce is focused on supplying engines to wide-body jets.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton

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