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Rolls-Royce looks to electric aircraft

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Conventional plane
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Could planes be less polluting in future?

This week's Paris Air show has seen Rolls-Royce step up its push to be greener by buying German industrial giant Siemens's electric and hybrid-electric “eAircraft” division, in a deal believed to be worth about €50m (£45m).

Chief executive Warren East told the Today programme: "There has to be a future in aerospace beyond setting fire to hydrocarbons."

He denied that the air industry had been slow to tackle carbon emissions and climate change, saying refinements of existing technology had made planes less polluting. "Actually, getting on an aeroplane compared with, say, 20 years ago is probably in order of 25% more efficient."

Mr East refused to be drawn on the continuing political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, saying Rolls-Royce was "ready for whatever outcome materialises".

"We have to leave the politics to the politicians," he added.

Whitbread sales down

premier inn
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Sales at Whitbread's Premier Inns open at least a year fell 4.6% in the first quarter of 2019.

Total sales fell about 1%.

Alison Brittain, Whitbread PLC Chief Executive, said: "We have delivered a resilient performance in the first quarter despite more challenging market conditions and we continue to make good progress with our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset another year of high industry cost inflation.