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Boeing flies high in China

US aviation giant Boeing hopes its Chinese suppliers will be among its global partners and work together with…

US aviation giant Boeing hopes its Chinese suppliers will be among its global partners and work together with it on future development, a top Boeing China executive said.

We place great hope in Xi`an Aircraft Industry Group Co Ltd (XAC) becoming one of our global partners, besides its role as an excellent parts provider, said David Wang, Boeing vice-president and president of its China operation.

Speaking in Xi`an, capital of Northwest China`s Shaanxi Province, Wang said he hoped the two companies could can work more closely in development in new products and further co-operation in other areas, as Boeing`s Chinese suppliers already have the capability to work with Boeing at a higher level.

XAC is already the biggest manufacturer of vertical fins for Boeing 737 aircraft and supplies about 80 per cent of Boeing`s demand for that product.

XAC delivered the 1,000th vertical fin for Boeing 737 airplane yesterday in Xi`an. Wang said as the global aviation industry recovered, there would be greater demand for new aircraft and therefore for more vertical fins which, in turn, would provide more opportunities for XAC, one of the four biggest aircraft manufacturers in China.

He estimated that on current delivery speed, XAC may be able to ship 1,000 more vertical fins for his company in five years.

XAC has invested more than 200 million yuan (US$24 million) in a new plant covering 38,000 square metres to meet increasing orders from Boeing and other customers.

The Chinese aircraft maker said it would expand its production capacity of Boeing 737 vertical fins from last October`s 10 units per month to 14 per month by next October.

Wang says Boeing`s monthly production rate of 737 aircraft is 17.

Winning outsourcing orders from international customers like Boeing will become one of our major strategies for the coming years, said Gao Dacheng, president of XAC. Gao said his company exported aircraft parts worth US$20 million last year and Boeing is XAC`s biggest customer. Wang also suggested the companies might talk about new projects.

He called on the Chinese aircraft maker to upgrade its technological level, if it wanted to participate in building Boeing`s cutting-edge 7E7 jets.

The 7E7 product is brand new for the industry, Wang said. To work on it Boeing and XAC must have a strong enterprising spirit and technologies.

XAC aims to ship US$25 million worth of products this year. The figure is expected to grow to U$100 million in 2008.

Wang said the Airbus` unit in the United Kingdom and other customers were also sending more orders, and talking about new projects with his business, which would help XAC fulfill its goal.

Zhu Zhengjun, an executive with China Aviation Industry Corp I, the parent company of XAC, said China exported US$65 million worth of civil aircraft parts last year and aimed to expand exports to as much as US$300 million by 2010.