Shares of Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON: RR.) surged 5% today after the company signed a deal to collaborate with Virgin Galactic on the engine design for a supersonic aircraft. Richard Branson’s company aims to utilize Rolls-Royce’s decades-old expertise in building propulsion systems for the aircraft.
Last week, Virgin Galactic selected Rolls-Royce for collaboration on the design and development of engine propulsion technology for the new aircraft. Virgin is aiming to build a new aircraft able to travel three times the speed of sound.
“Our work to support the Virgin Galactic agreement will be based out of the US,” the jet maker said in a statement.
“However, we will leverage our best capabilities from around the world to successfully deliver this advanced supersonic propulsion system in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.”
The first draft design of the supersonic aircraft has room to carry between 9 and 19 passengers. It will be able to take off and land at existing airports.
“We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft,” said George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic.
Rolls-Royce share price is now trading over 10% higher on the week after printing the lowest levels since 2004.