Boeing To Expand Manufacturing In South Africa

Boeing To Expand Manufacturing In South Africa

From DefenceWeb.

Aerospace giant Boeing is looking to expand its presence in South Africa through a range of activities including manufacturing, training and biofuels.

Miguel Santos, vice president of Africa for Boeing International, said, “we want to further our presence in South Africa in a variety of ways: manufacturing, pilot training, defense, commercial,” adding that Boeing is looking at Southern Africa as it is an important market for the company.

Boeing is involved in many different sectors of the aerospace industry in South Africa. For instance it partnered with 43 Air School on pilot training and is working on additive manufacturing and titanium powder in conjunction with local researchers and has a biofuels program with South African Airways.

In June 2013 Boeing and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research signed a memo of understanding on research into using titanium powder in industrial manufacturing. South Africa is the second-largest titanium mineral producer.

In October Boeing and South African Airways agreed to establish a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa. This is Boeing’s first biofuel supply chain project in Africa.

On the manufacturing side, Boeing subcontracted Aerosud to make components for its aircraft. Aerosud “performs very very well” in manufacturing Boeing 737 components, Santos said. If he had his way, he said Aerosud would get more work from Boeing.

Boeing is looking to Denel Aerostructures to manufacture aircraft components. Denel makes parts for the Airbus Defence and Space A400M Atlas, but thisproject will not last forever and Denel is looking at other long term programs. Santos said Denel manufactured 737 parts such as flap tracks, and that Boeing is trying to re-establish a relationship with Denel.

Boeing plans to be at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2014 exhibition in September and plans to bring out an AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter. Its ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle may also be present. During the 2012 exhibit, Boeing arranged for an Angola Airlines Boeing 777 to visit and will try and arrange a similar performance this year. Santos said the exhibit was an important place for Boeing to show its presence in South Africa, both commercially and for its defense lineup.

Boeing also supplies commercial aircraft to regional airlines and recently delivered eight 737-800s to Comair in May — the first African operator to order the 737 MAX 8. TAAG took delivery of a 777-300ER from Boeing and will receive another one in December 2016 and a third in January 2017, Santos said at the Aviation Outlook Conference in Sandton. South African Airways plans to buy new wide-body aircraft and Boeing is promoting its 777X and 787 Dreamliner to meet the upcoming purchase.

Regarding the acquisition of a new VIP jet for President Jacob Zuma, Santos said Boeing has not received any request for proposals. In 2012 Boeing proposed selling a 777-200LR from a cancelled order to the South African Air Force but this process came to a halt. The acquisition of additional VIP aircraft has been put on the Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan project list and is now classified.

Boeing is also looking to expand its military presence in Africa, especially with regard to mobility and vertical lift. Boeing Defence Space and Security is focusing on South Africa as an entry point into sub-Saharan and then North Africa.

Read more at DefenceWeb.