Boeing is placing a high priority on finding customers for the 15 C-17 strategic transports it decided to build without confirmed orders.
“[The C-17s] are not without a lot of focus in the company,” says Chris Raymond, vice-president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “Any time you’re in a position where you’re protecting things at risk, you pay a lot of attention to it. We pay attention to [the sale of the C-17s] at the highest levels of the company, but we are confident that we’ve got some folks out there who will buy up the remains of the production run.”
Speaking at the Singapore air show, Raymond says Boeing is engaged with “five or six” countries about the remaining aircraft. Of these, “two to four” are not presently users of the type.
The C-17 is operated by Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the USA, and is also used by a consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations from Papa air base in Hungary.
Raymond declines to specify the possible recipients of the remaining aircraft, production of which will cease at the Long Beach factory in California in 2015, but he is confident they will eventually find a home. He adds that Boeing selected to produce the 15 aircraft based on its anticipation of sales. “In our mind we’ve mentally allocated the aircraft ... but obviously we’re in an environment where those who step forward first will get the aircraft."
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