Boeing hopeful of 777X deal, may build wings in Japan if rejected

Reuters

TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Boeing Co is hopeful itskey machinist union will vote for a labour contract to secureproduction of the 777X in Washington State, but will look atalternatives, including building the wings in Japan if the dealis rejected, an executive said on Tuesday

"We are hopeful," John Tracy, the U.S. aircraft maker'schief technology officer, said during a press briefing in Tokyowith executives from suppliers including Mitsubishi Heavy, Kawasaki Heavy and Fuji Heavy.Japanese companies build 36 percent of the 787 Dreamlinerincluding the wings.

"If not ratified we will consider all other alternatives,"Tracy said, adding that included the possibility of takingproduction of the wings out of the United States to Japan.

In a bid to persuade Boeing to build its yet-to-be-launched777X in Washington, the state legislature last week passed ameasure to extend nearly $9 billion in tax breaks. However, keyto the production decision will be a vote by the InternationalAssociation of Machinists union on a deal that calls for lowerhealthcare benefits and a new retirement plan.

Its 31,000 members are due to vote on the proposed deal onWednesday. At a meeting last week, union head Tom Wroblewskitore up the proposed contract.

Should his members agree to throw the deal out, MitsubishiHeavy and other Japanese suppliers could stand to benefit. Thecarbon fiber 787 is the first Boeing aircraft that has its wingsbuilt outside the United States.

Doing so for the 777 would represent another major Boeingcommitment in Japan and help secure thousands of aerospace jobsas the Japanese firms look to fend of competition from makers inKorea and China.

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