In an immense show of intercontinental collaboration, three different Japanese aerospace manufacturers have proposed a new partnership with Boeing to produce a new fleet of next-gen small passenger planes. This new breed of aircraft would seat roughly 200 passengers and eventually replace Boeing’s 737 Max series. If Boeing agrees to this deal, aircraft development would likely begin in the early 2020s, as the 737 Max itself has yet to be released.
The proposal being spearheaded by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Mitsubishi Industries would see each company providing resources and financial support for specific sections of the planes. To further sweeten the deal, the trio of Japanese companies intends to split the risk and revenue from the project proportionally dependent upon investment amounts. Since this project is estimated to cost nearly $900 million, splitting costs would be ideal for all companies involved. If the project does end up failing, each company would lose significantly less money than if either of the companies were to attempt to design and manufacture the plane on their own.
As competition continues to heat up with Airbus, Boeing must find new ways to stay ahead of the curve. That being said, Japanese companies may be the key to success for Boeing moving forward. Many see the technological prowess demonstrated by Japanese companies – especially the trio involved in this proposal - as essential for Boeing. Each of these three companies have already produced sections for other Boeing planes, and they are proven business partners. The 787 is a prime example of all three companies working together on a Boeing contract, with Mitsubishi providing the wings, Fuji providing additional central wing components, and Kawasaki providing front fuselage elements. If this deal is a success, we will likely see even more collaboration between Boeing and Japanese companies in the years to follow.
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