William and Catherine visit new Rolls-Royce factory
SINGAPORE - Agence France-Presse
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, tour the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, in Singapore. AP photoPrince William and his wife Catherine Wednesday unveiled the first plane engine to be produced by Rolls-Royce at its new factory in Singapore, on the second day of their Asia-Pacific tour.
The British royal couple introduced the Trent 900 jet which powers the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane, to a gathering of Rolls-Royce executives, corporate guests and employees waving British and Singaporean flags.
"Here is cutting-edge aerospace technology developed by one of the United Kingdom's great global companies," William said at the 154,000 square-metre (1.66 million square foot) complex which opened in February.
"It is no accident that Rolls-Royce has chosen to build this high-tech campus in Singapore. This country's welcoming business environment, highly skilled workforce and entrepreneurial energy have made it a magnet for many hundreds of British companies." He said British firms had invested a total of 25 billion pounds ($40 billion) over the years in Singapore, a former colonial trading outpost that has become one of the world's wealthiest societies.
The Rolls-Royce facility was built at a cost of Sg$700 million ($570 million) and employs some 500 people with the Asia-Pacific region now the world's fastest-growing aviation market.
The young royals are touring the globe this year as part of celebrations marking the 60-year reign of William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. The current nine-day swing will also take them to Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
They began the day with a visit to Gardens By The Bay, a new tourist attraction featuring outdoor botanical gardens and climate-controlled domes showcasing plants and trees from all over the world.
More than a hundred well-wishers greeted the couple, and they planted a sapling in the Colonial Garden section.
During a public meet-and-greet session, a girl in the crowd asked William, dressed in a dark suit, what superpowers he wished he had.
"Invisibility," he replied, local daily the Straits Times reported.
When the same question was posed to Catherine, who was in a pleated white dress, she quipped: "I'd pick invisibility too so that William can't sneak up on me." The glamourous couple, who were married in April last year, will stay in Singapore until Thursday. They then head to Malaysia, where they will tour the capital Kuala Lumpur and Borneo island's Sabah state from September 13-15.
The pair will fly to the Solomon Islands, an impoverished former British protectorate north-east of Australia, and stay from September 16-18, before a final stop in the tiny nation of Tuvalu until September 19.
Queen Elizabeth is head of state in the Solomons and Tuvalu, both of which are members of the Commonwealth, as are Singapore and Malaysia.