Dubai: Boeing’s next generation 777x series will not be built in the UAE despite the aircraft manufacturer “exploring all options” on where the aircraft will be built, a top Boeing executive said on Saturday.
At a media briefing in Dubai Ray Conner, President & Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said the 777x series is unlikely to be built in the UAE because “right now not a lot of manufacturing capability exists here”.
Conner did not rule out future prospect on manufacturing aircraft in the Arabian Gulf and said Boeing was looking to build on partnerships in the “important region”.
“Ultimately the vision would be down the road … If you’re starting with a greenfield type of scenario you need to grow into that type of thing. Certainly we would want to partner [regionally] to … create capacity and that is one of the things we’re looking to do,” he said.
Boeing is currently assessing where it will build the 777x series after union workers in the United States voted down a proposal from Boeing management that would have guaranteed the construction of the next generation aircraft in Seattle.
It is believed one of the reasons the proposal was rejected by US workers was because it included a change in the exiting pension plan.
Conner said that had the proposal been accepted the 777x would have been built in Seattle, Washington.
Asked whether the US-aircraft manufacturer was only looking at locations in the United States or assessing the potential of building the aircraft overseas, Conner said Boeing is “going to look very broadly”.
While capacity and capability will be fundamental for wherever Boeing builds the next generation series, Conner said it will be built in the United States. Boeing would look at what states can “bring to investment, training, [and] tax incentives”. He said technology would be one of the drivers for international sites.
Despite Conner saying the UAE is not a “tier one” opportunity for 777x construction he hinted that there was strong potential for future partnerships.
“Partnerships are really important to us. Partnerships in respect to an industrial side and any other way and how we work together and how we create real ties to the region. We have done some of that and we look forward to do more of that,” he said.
Boeing is expected to unveil its new 777x at the Dubai Airshow and said the labour dispute would have no impact on the manufacturer’s time frame in terms of the delivery of the aircraft.
Conner said a construction location would be found within the coming months and that Boeing was committed to delivering the next generation aircraft by the end of the decade.