Chinese President Xi Jinping is given a tour of Boeing’s aircraft manufacturing facilities in Everett, Washington by Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner.
(Jason Redman-Pool/Getty Images)
Boeing confirmed 300 aircraft orders/commitments from Chinese companies and said it will open a joint venture 737 “completion” facility in China.
The announcements were made as Chinese President Xi Jinping toured 787, 777 and 747-8 final assembly lines in Everett, Washington.
The 300 orders/commitments are divided among Chinese leasing companies and Chinese airlines; specific airline destinations for the aircraft were not announced. Widebodies comprise 50 of the orders/commitments while 250 are for 737s, Boeing said. The company valued the 300 aircraft at $38 billion at list prices.
Boeing also said that it has entered into an agreement with the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) to open a joint venture facility in China for “interiors completion, paint and delivery of Boeing 737 aircraft to Chinese customers.” The airframes will still be built in Washington state before being flown to China for the completion work.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said, “Boeing is expanding our longstanding relationship with Chinese industry to meet vital goals for our company: We are bringing the Boeing 737 closer to our Chinese customers, supporting rising 737 production rates and enhancing our access to China’s dynamic and fast-growing aviation market. The 737 will be a cornerstone of the Chinese fleet for years to come, and we look forward to delivering 737s to Chinese customers in China.”
COMAC VP Wu Guanghui added, “The new collaboration between Boeing and COMAC will help advance the Chinese commercial transportation market in a better and faster way, and will benefit the development of supporting Chinese industries related to aircraft completion as well as the global growth of China’s civil aviation business.”
In a letter sent to Boeing employees on the eve of Xi’s visit, Conner tried to assure workers that any “strategic partnership in China” would not affect employment at Boeing’s facilities in Washington state. “I want to assure you that agreements we may reach with our Chinese partners will not result in layoffs or reduce employment for the 737 program in Washington state,” he wrote.
Conner noted in the letter that “China is our largest international market, accounting for about 1 in 4 of our deliveries so far this year. Going forward, China will be the largest commercial aviation market in the world.”
(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)