Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Boeing Gets Something for Nothing... least it sure looks that way.

Too many viewings of Project X on NHK seem to have convinced the captains of Japan's heavy industry that what this country needs most is to annoy the governments of Canada and Brazil.

Boeing to help Mitsubishi Heavy market regional jet - report
AFX News

TOKYO (XFN-ASIA) - Boeing Co has signed a partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd to help promote Japan's first passenger jet, the Nikkei reported, without citing sources.

Mitsubishi Heavy plans to commercialize the 70-90 seat regional aircraft by 2012 if it secures enough orders by next spring, the business daily said.

The companies will focus on operational cooperation in areas such as marketing and maintenance.

Mitsubishi Heavy must sell a total of 350 jets in order to breakeven for the jet project, the Nikkei said, adding the engineering firm will launch a global marketing campaign this fall.

Boeing executives, knowing full well that Mitsubishi Heavy will never get 350 orders in a market already dominated by Bombadier and Embraer, cheerfully agree to put in a best effort, thereby winning MHI's gratitude...

...which will come in oh so handy the next time Boeing and MHI meeting to discuss the pricing of the parts, components and assemblies MHI sells to Boeing.

Oh, and maybe even will tip the scales toward Boeing and away from Airbus the next time JAL or ANA need to buy a new set of wide-bodied aircraft (MHI will be encouraged to make the calls).

Right about now would probably be a good time for a loudmouth to tell the Japanese taxpayer how much he or she will likely be shelling out to support MHI's bid to build a kokusan jettoki -- since every other aircraft manufacturer in the world receives all kinds of subsidies, tax relief, government contracts and government activity on the maker's behalf.

(Just imagine Japanese ambassadors pleading with African strongmen to buy Japan's hyper-expensive mid-sized passenger jets -- kimochi warui!)

I can understand the fear--with no military sales in the works (the F-2 is dead) MHI and the other Heavies are desperate for some way to maintain their capacity to build complete aircraft.

Still, do they have to mess up relations with the Canadians and the Brazilians (really useful people to be friends with, should relations with the U.S. and China hit turbulence) to maintain this design and manufacturing capacity? Why not just sign on as a part of the F-35 consortium instead?

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