Rolls-Royce and Babcock International are reportedly planning to sell their stakes in British strategic airlift and aerial refuelling operator AirTanker (9L, Brize Norton), Sky News has reported citing unnamed sources.

The two companies jointly control around half of AirTanker's shares, with the remainder held by Airbus and Thales, none of which is contemplating disposing of their stakes. Rolls-Royce and Babcock have reportedly already appointed financial advisors, including Jefferies, to begin the disposal process.

Both shareholders and AirTanker refused to comment on the report.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, AirTanker owns a total of fourteen A330-200 Voyagers. It operates a fleet of four aircraft in high-density passenger configurations under a long-term agreement with the Royal Air Force, wherein the aircraft are operated whenever needed on behalf of the air force but can be wet-leased to commercial customers in between. The carrier also owns one more A330-200 and nine A330-200(MRTT) air tankers leased out to and operated exclusively by the RAF.

The current contract between RAF and AirTanker continues through 2035.

While Babcock International is primarily a defence supplier, the group also runs global search-and-rescue, emergency, and offshore operations through subsidiaries including Babcock MCS Offshore and Babcock MCS Onshore in the UK, Babcock MCS España, Babcock MCS France, Babcock MCS Germany, Babcock MCS Italia, Babcock MCS Mozambique, Babcock MCS Portugal, Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance, Babcock Scandinavian MediCopter, and Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance (Norway). Rolls-Royce does not own any other airlines besides its stake in AirTanker.