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Frontiers December 2012/January 2013 Issue

‘Old friends’ Boeing and China have forged a strong relationship that goes back 40 years By Eric Fetters-Walp Aerospace technicians in Shanghai are main- “It’s an incredibly important market to Boeing, taining and repairing Boeing 777s, while far to the and one we’ve had a large share in.” west, workers are building composite rudders for As a market for Boeing’s airplanes, China’s the 787 and wing components for the 747-8. In potential isn’t difficult to see. Not as visible is Beijing, sales representatives meet with potential the growth of Boeing services in China—and customers in Boeing China’s headquarters. the company’s numerous relationships with In a typical day, more than 6,000 people suppliers and partner companies there. are working for Boeing, its joint ventures and China’s role as a supplier for Boeing and subsidiaries across China, a growing presence its heritage companies started shortly after in a nation that represents the world’s second- Boeing sold its first airplanes to Air China. More largest aviation market. It’s also something than 6,000 Boeing jetliners—about 60 percent not envisioned two generations ago. of those operating around the globe—include The historic visit of a U.S. president 40 years significant structural components from Chinese ago, and the subsequent initial order for 10 Boe- manufacturers. That makes Boeing the largest ing 707 jetliners from China’s aviation authority, foreign-based buyer of aerospace equipment opened the door between Boeing and the Chi- and components from China. Among the jetliners nese government. Since then, Chinese airlines for which Chinese aerospace firms are producing have ordered more than 1,000 Boeing jetliners parts are the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8. and are projected to need more than 5,200 new Additionally, Boeing has a stake in several airplanes in the next 20 years. China’s popula- joint ventures that produce such components, tion is four times that of the United States, but including Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., which Chinese airlines still have only one-fourth as makes structures and interior parts used in all many commercial jetliners as U.S. airlines. Boeing commercial airplanes. “It’s the world’s most populous nation, it’s Other joint ventures also are on the rise, the second-largest economy and the fourth- including TAECO in Xiamen, which plays a large largest nation in area,” said Shep Hill, president role in converting used 747 passenger planes of Boeing International and senior vice presi- into freighters. In October 2009, Boeing Shanghai dent of Business Development and Strategy. Aviation Services, a joint venture with Shanghai GRAPHIC: (Above) Chinese calligraphy for “old friends.” PHOTOS: (Left) A 767 under- goes a heavy maintenance check at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services. (Right) Performing an end-of-lease 737 check and interior upgrade at Boeing Shanghai. YONG HE BOEING FRONTIERS / DECEMBER 2012–JANUARY 2013 33


Frontiers December 2012/January 2013 Issue
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