Boeing, Embraer sign pact to work jointly on broad civil aviation issues

Washington DC
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The governments and industries of the US and Brazil moved to deepen aviation ties on 9 April, pledging to expand cooperation in broadly defined areas including safety, air traffic systems and manufacturing productivity.

A new "US Brazil aviation partnership" was formed by diplomats, with the initial focus on a US-funded trade mission for Brazilian officials in June to study airports modernisation.

Meanwhile, Boeing and Embraer also signed a broad new agreement to collaborate on multiple issues, starting with aircraft safety, operational efficiency and manufacturing productivity.

"There are some other areas that we're going to talk about and over the next several months I think you'll see us coming out with more announcements on specific areas we're going to work together in," Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Both agreements were part of a one-day conference dedicated to deepening friendly albeit superficial ties between the two most populous countries in the Americas.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with US President Barack Obama to discuss a wide agenda including energy, defence cooperation and science and technology. Part of the meeting at the White House included a discussion on aviation, which was attended by Albaugh and Frederico Curado, chief executive of Embraer.

"Sorry we're a little bit late," Curado told reporters after showing up to a press conference 5min behind schedule. "We had a great excuse. We were meeting with both the US and Brazilian presidents."

Embraer is also keen to forge closer links with Boeing, with which it shares few directly competing interests.

"We are honoured to partner with Boeing," Curado says.

Each company also has specific interests in the other's marketplace, although not in the commercial aircraft field.

Boeing is bidding to sell 36 F/A-18F Super Hornets to Brazil, but faces competition for the F-X2 contract from the Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen.

Embraer, meanwhile, wants to sell the A-26 Super Tucano to the US Air Force, which has pledged to donate counterinsurgency fighters to the Afghan air force. Embraer initially won the contract in December, but the USAF set aside the award after discovering a still-unexplained problem in its acquisition process.