Boeing has signed a preliminary agreement with a consortium of five Japanese suppliers to “provide” about 21% of the major structural components of the 777X.
The decision announced on 12 June comes as Boeing finalises the supply chain for the re-engined and re-winged aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2020.
The selection of the Japan Aircraft Industries (JAI) and Japan Aircraft Development Corporation (JADC) adds to only two previously announced 777X suppliers, including the General Electric GE9X turbofan and Héroux-Devtek landing gear.
“Adding this new commercial transport programme in our history, JAI and Boeing will further strengthen their mutually beneficial relationship,” says Hideaki Omiya, chairman of JADC and JAI consortium member Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
It also comes as Boeing faces new competition in the Japanese airline market. In March, All Nippon Airlines ordered the 777X after considering the Airbus A350, but Japan Air Lines ordered 31 A350s.
But the selection preserves the level of contribution by Japanese suppliers on the 777 programme at 21% of the overall structure. Although the percentage remains the same, the 777X is larger so the value of the work increases, says George Maffeo, president of Boeing Japan.
Japanese suppliers provide more than a third of the structural content of the 787, including design authority for the wing and wingbox.
For the 777X, JAI and JADC members will deliver fuselage sections, centre wing sections, pressure bulkheads, main landing gear wells, wing components, wing body fairings and the doors for the passenger, cargo and main landing gear compartments.
The JAI consortium includes MHI, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), ShinMaywa Industries (SMIC) and NIPPI Coporation.
As a non-profit foundation, JADC promotes the competitiveness of the Japanese aircraft industry.
The JAI members are “consistently high performers, deliver superior quality and have worked with us to meet affordability goals for the 777X”, says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Ray Conner.
Boeing has also announced that its employees will produce the new composite wing of the 777X in Everett, Washington.
The company has yet to announce the supplier for the systems and interiors of the 777X, but is expected to finalise agreements within a few months.