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Boeing to extend local deal
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Boeing Co will buy more tailplanes for its 737 series from China's Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory as global demand increases for its most popular jet.

A 13-year accord will be extended for five years, said John Bruns, vice president of Boeing's commercial-plane division in China. Tailplanes, or horizontal stabilizers, provide lift and control aircraft during flight.

"We're always looking for the best value we can in suppliers, and we are very happy with the value we're getting from our Chinese suppliers," Bruns told Bloomberg News in Beijing on Monday, without providing financial details.

More than one-third of the 16,327 planes Boeing has delivered have been the single-aisle 737, seating between 110 and 220 passengers. Customers will buy 17,630 single-aisle planes in the next two decades, accounting for 62 percent of total commercial aircraft demand, Boeing forecast last year.

Shanghai Aircraft has delivered more than 1,200 sets of the stabilizers for the 737, according to the Chicago-based company's Web site.

Boeing agreed in 1995 to order 1,000 sets, and the companies expanded the agreement to 1,500 sets the following year, according to Shanghai Aircraft's Web site.

Final assembly

Suzie Zhou, a communications officer at Shanghai Aircraft, declined to comment before an official announcement.

Shanghai Aircraft's shareholders include China Aviation Industry Corp I, the nation's biggest aircraft maker, and Shanghai Aviation Industrial (Group) Co.

Shanghai Aircraft is part of China Commercial Aircraft Co, established by the government on Sunday to develop and make a 150-seat, single-aisle airplane in competition with Boeing and larger rival Airbus SAS for global orders.

The Shanghai Aircraft factory is also the final assembly line for the ARJ21 regional jet, China's first commercially sold passenger plane, whose first test flight is planned this year.

The proposed jetliner would take at least 10 years to be ready for delivery, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, citing Lin Zuoming, president of AVIC I.

China Commercial Aircraft's ownership of Shanghai Aircraft won't affect Boeing's relationship with the factory as a supplier, Bruns said.

Boeing buys parts from 11 different Chinese suppliers for its 737, 747, 767 and 787 aircraft, the company's Web site says. Other Chinese-made parts on the 737 include the vertical tail fin, tail cone, the aft section of the fuselage and the exit doors over the wings, the Website says.

(Shanghai Daily May 14, 2008)

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