Boeing is set to enter a strategic pact with Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi government-owned investment firm, a senior Boeing executive said.
The two companies began exploring ways of working together two years ago but have been in talks at the Dubai Air Show this week that could lead to co-operation in high-tech activities.
“We are in a set of discussions to increase work in areas like engineering, research and development and a number of other areas we will look to develop over the next few months with them,” Shepherd Hill, Boeing’s vice president of strategy and president of Boeing International told Reuters.
“Over the next few days you might see something coming out with Mubadala,” he said in an interview.
Mubadala has been investing progressively in aerospace deals to boost the Abu Dhabi economy and said last week it would launch an aerospace components maker that is expected to produce advanced composites for firms including Boeing rival Airbus.
“Around the world there are growing aspirations for increased skills development and technology development. Boeing sees a world that is growing up in terms of its capability where we can reach out and benefit not just in selling products and services but in bringing enhanced capability into Boeing.”
Hill said Boeing would keep a strong international footprint in future plane developments despite some domestic criticism of heavy global outsourcing of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which has run into development delays.
“It is a wonderful example of what the future might look like in the global aerospace industry,” he said.
“Where we draw the line, we might be tweaking that slightly, but it is a wonderful business model and has helped in launching an extremely successful airplane,” he said.
Hill said Boeing had no plans to follow Airbus EAD.POA in setting up an airplane assembly line in China, where President Barack Obama is on a visit.
China is developing an aircraft that could compete with some single-aisle Boeing and Airbus airliners but this should not be seen as a threat, Hill said.
“We have always seen China as an opportunity for Boeing. It is a large and growing market,” he said.
“We understand their aspirations and at some point in the future they will be competing in a global aviation market with a 737 and A320 size aircraft. We look forward to that and I think we can collaborate and grow together in China and beyond.”
Pic: Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane