President, Rolls-Royce Canada
Annie Christa-Lee Fortier
Director of Supply Chain Planning & Control, Rolls-Royce Canada
The most prestigious business jets the world over rely on Rolls-Royce engines to power them through the skies. And, for 75 years, those engines have relied on Montreal’s world-class repair and overhaul facility to keep them in top shape.
There are few names as thoroughly associated with quality in the collective lexicon as Rolls-Royce. Though the brand may first spring to mind as the pinnacle of the luxury automobile, the lasting legacy of Rolls-Royce today is in the skies as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft engines. From their U.K. roots, Rolls-Royce now powers airplanes the world over. And when those engines need service, airlines and private jet owners can rely on the international presence of Rolls-Royce repair and overhaul facilities. Outside of the United Kingdom, one of the most experienced such facilities is found right here in Canada.
“We’ve been in Montreal since 1947,” says Denis Giangi, President of Rolls-Royce Canada Limited. “Montreal is our main aerospace hub, but we also have a marine facility in the City of Peterborough, Ont. And in the City of Thompson, Man., we have a state-of-the-art ice testing facility called GLACIER. Thompson is one of the coldest places in the world, and the great thing about Canada is that we don’t have to create a facility to simulate these extreme conditions when we have them available naturally. It’s a rich history we have here in Canada.”
From RCAF to Beverly Hills
In the late 1940s and the 1950s, Rolls-Royce Canada primarily provided maintenance for customers like the Canadian Air Force. As they celebrate this year their 75th anniversary in the country, however, they have seen their customer base and their scope of work expand dramatically. “Today, we have a very successful and diversified aerospace repair and overhaul business, supporting over 600 aircraft operators in over 30 countries all around the world,” says Giangi. “Looking at our customer base, its airlines, corporate operators, private jet owners, and even some very famous Hollywood stars. Our mandate has gotten much broader, especially in terms of high technology. We get to work on the latest technology and more efficient engines now than we did back in the 1950s. The name of the game for us is that we feel that we can offer the best engines in the world and also all the support services.”
The main engines that the Montreal facility works on are the BR710 and the Tay 611-8/C, which are used extensively in the business and private jet sector, powering planes from manufacturers like Bombardier and Gulfstream. There are over 5,000 BR710 and Tay engines flying around the globe, and Rolls-Royce Canada cares for almost all of them. The Montreal facility is, after all, the Centre of Excellence for Rolls-Royce’s repair and overhaul operations for Business Aviation.
No better place to be than Ville-Marie
Over the course of their 75 years in the city, the choice of Rolls-Royce to locate their facility in Montreal has proven itself again and again. This is a city that truly embraces and values industry employers. It’s where international companies love to do business and employees love to call home. As a result, Montreal has become a major hub for aerospace manufacturing, research, and maintenance, home to many domestic industry powerhouses and branches of the world’s most significant aerospace multinationals.
“In Montreal, we like to brag that we can build an aircraft from tip to tail within a 30-kilometre radius,” says Giangi. “The aerospace industry is a source of national pride in Quebec. We’ve got all the right players here. Aerospace companies are attracted to Montreal because we have a very competitive cost environment. Energy prices are very low, and that energy is very green. Government partners also have programs which support research and development. And we have an incredible pool of talent with research centres, trade schools, and a number of universities with dedicated programs just for aerospace.”
Canada’s brightest aerospace minds building a better future
The rich learning environment of Montreal has also long provided Rolls-Royce Canada with an invaluable array of opportunities for partnerships with world-class research and educational institutions. They’re currently working on a research project with the National Research Council Canada, Laval University, and Polytechnique Montréal to develop an automated inspection and repair process for critical engine parts, as well as a number of ongoing projects focusing on sustainability and electrification. The concentration of scientific talent and expertise in Canada has been absolutely indispensable in allowing Rolls-Royce to continue pushing forward the envelope of the possible.
And so, looking forward to the next 75 years and beyond, Rolls-Royce remains confident that Canada will continue to be the place to be. As the aerospace industry evolves and adapts, with a large focus on sustainability, in particular, the role of research and collaboration will only become more central to innovation and success. And Quebec is a perfect place for that collaboration. When the skies are filled with the next generation of cutting-edge aircraft engines, you can be certain that many of those too will be stamped with the double R. And those engines will all be coming to Montreal for the gold standard in care.