The Xinhua report, datelined from Seattle where Xi started his trip on Tuesday, gave no immediate details of the models of the planes bought by a group of Chinese companies or the value of the sale. The total package is worth $38 billion, Boeing said.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he saw scope for more 737 work going to China as the company raised production rates of the single-aisle jetliner, but stressed any changes would not come at the expense of jobs in the United States.
The joint-venture partners are working with Chinese government officials on a final business agreement and will announce the facility’s location and timing of first deliveries later, Boeing said.
Boeing will still assemble all of its 737s destined for Chinese carriers at its factory in Renton, Washington, and then will fly them to the new center in China for the installation of interiors and painting of exteriors, as well as flight tests and final delivery. Also unknown: how numerous orders have already been placed and marked as “unidentified”.
“During my tour today I was impressed by the vision, the ambition and the dedication to innovation of this company”, China’s president said.
The aerospace firm has signed a pact with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) on manufacturing of its aircraft completion center in China for it 737 passenger jet, Xinhua said.
“The emerging middle class in China is helping to boost demand”, said analyst Mohshin Aziz of Kuala Lumpur-based Malayan Banking Bhd.
Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) predicts that China airlines will have to add up to 6,330 new planes by 2034 to cater for the fast-growing travel industry.
China’s order, while large, was a small percentage increase on Boeing’s backlog of 5,710 aircraft and had been expected.
Aside from selling planes to Chinese companies, Boeing will also be building an aircraft completion center in China, as part of its partnership with Commercial Aircraft.
China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, ICBC Financial Leasing and China Development Bank Leasing inked the jet purchase agreement after Xi’s arrival in Seattle. While the move is beneficial to the aircraft manufacturer as a sprawling multinational enterprise, the proposal to put up a factory, particularly in China, would threaten the jobs of the American workers.
Boeing confirmed that it will not make any layoffs in the USA due to the new facility in China. Boeing declined to comment on the Shanghai newspaper report.