Boeing has inked a deal for five Japanese companies to manufacture key components for its twin-aisle 777X jets, but the contract doesn’t include the wings, which were a source of delays for the 787 Dreamliner.
The Japanese firms will make about 21 percent of the new plane’s structural components, including fuselage sections and landing gear wells.
Difficulties in fitting the wings to the body of Boeing’s Dreamliner in the U.S. contributed to the many delays experienced in making the aircraft. The Japanese furnish about 35 percent of the 787, which was the first Boeing plane to have a wing designed and built by a foreign firm . Deliveries were delayed by about three years by various problems.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said that having the Japanese make more parts for the 777X was considered, but that the decision was made to have Boeing make the wing.
“This is a partnership that will endure for many, many years to come,” Conner said after Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Fuji Heavy Industries, ShinMaywa Industries and NIPPI Corp. signed the deal Thursday at a Tokyo hotel.
Twenty-one percent is the same level the Japanese got for the predecessor 777 aircraft, one of the most popular commercial jets on the market. The firms said the contract was a reflection of their reputation for quality production and punctual deliveries.
The 777X, set for delivery from 2020, is billed as 12 percent more fuel-efficient than rival Airbus’s A350. Boeing already has 260 orders, including an order from All Nippon Airways. ANA was the first customer for Boeing’s 787.