Rolls Royce Makes Closed Alliance Facility its Home Sweet High-Tech Home

The British company took over the 440,000-square-foot facility at Alliance Airport after American closed operations there in 2016.

Rolls Royce

Even when the North Texas economy has been handed lemons, it finds a way to make lemonade. Stir in an equal mixture of available resources and talent, and you have a solution for nearly any problem.

For example, American Airlines used to test Rolls Royce aircraft engines at a maintenance facility at Alliance Airport, but that ended when Fort Worth-based American merged with US Airways and the facility was closed in 2016.

Hillwood’s Bill Burton says UK-based Rolls Royce liked being in North Texas, so it leased the 440,000 square-foot facility back, turning it into a turbine overhaul facility and engine test cell that can diagnose problems on new, larger jet engines.

 “There’s just not many places in the country you can do that,” Burton says. “It was already here because of the American maintenance base.”

Rolls Royce will use the facility to carry out endurance test runs for its Trent engines, allowing the company to continue to support its growing fleet. The company is introducing three new large civil aero engines into service, so the facility will carry increased importance.

Rolls Royce engines will power next generation of airplanes

The Trent 1000 TEN entered service in 2017, powering the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the Trent XWB-97 and Trent 7000 will power the Airbus A350-1000 and Airbus A330neo, respectively. By the early 2020s, Rolls Royce says one in two modern widebody passenger aircraft will be powered by Trent engines.


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“This additional testbed helps us improve the capability and flexibility of our global test network and will provide us with additional capability to run endurance analysis, accruing valuable data on our latest engine programs,” says Gareth Hedicker, Rolls-Royce’s Head of Experimental–Civil Aerospace.

Nearby, Burton says Tarrant County College just opened a dedicated aviation training and logistics program at Alliance Airport that will draw thousands of students. That, combined with low unemployment and strong engineering schools at area universities, will keep the talent pool rich in North Texas. 

“It’s stunning to see how much talent there is here,” Burton says. “I think oftentimes we don’t realize how much talent we have in a number of different sectors.” 

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