"Boeing has provided many services to Turkmenistan's aviation industry since independence in 1992 -- many more than anywhere else in the world," a 2008 cable from US diplomat Sylvia Reed Curran, and released by Wikileaks, says.
If Curran's statement is correct, there is also some irony and waning. An undisclosed "top Boeing Corporation sales executive...said that he would not fly on Turkmenistan Airlines because some planes are flying past the usual inspection due date, calling into question the structural integrity of the aircraft," Curran writes.
This love-but-now-avoid relationship was posing other quandaries, and worrying Boeing about its foothold in Turkmenistan.
Boeing established itself in Turkmenistan soon after the former Soviet republic's independence by initiating a relationship with with former president Niyazov, Curran wrties.
The US manufacturer worked closely, Curran writes, with Gore Design, which provides executive interior design for most of Central Asia's presidential airplanes (one of which is seen above). Gore repaired the in-flight entertainment system inadvertently left on in the heat in one of the president's aircraft.
In exchange for Boeing's services to Turkmenistan's aviation industry, the nation "exempted Boeing from taxes and gave the company other privileges," Curran writes. Turkmenistan Airlines also acquired a small but notable Boeing fleet.
But new president Berdimuhamedov was not as business-minded as his predecessor, Curran writes. As a result, 18 entities, as opposed to 5 or 6, had to authorise contracts in three languages. There also appeared to be issues with customs delaying the acceptance of spare aircraft parts.
After a Turkish broker introduced Airbus executives to Turkmenistan Airlines and brokered a deal for two Bombarider Challenger jets, Boeing became "at a loss" as to why it was losing grip of its cosy relationship and asked the State Department to intervene.
It is not specified what, if any help, the State Department was able to offer. A Boeing executive came to Turkmenistan and after waiting several days was granted a meeting with Turkmenistan Airlines' deputy chairman, whereas on previous visits it was the chairman who met with Boeing officials.