Boeing defends choice of GE as sole engine supplier

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The Independent Online
A SENIOR Boeing executive said yesterday the aircraft manufacturer had no intention of reviewing its decision to make General Electric the sole engine supplier for the long-range version of its wide-bodied 777 jet.

Debby Hopkins, Boeing's chief financial officer, said: "We have made a decision and we are not going to go back on it." She added that the company had spent a great deal of time considering the engine choice and decided the market for the new jet was not big enough to justify more than one supplier.

The decision to select GE as sole supplier was a blow to Rolls-Royce, which had offered a version of its Trent engine for the extended-range 777X. A number of airline customers, including British Airways, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific, have also questioned Boeing's decision to restrict its choice of engine supplier. BA said it was concerned the decision would reduce competition between engine manufacturers and have an adverse effect on it if BA chose to buy the 777X. BA has 25 777 aircraft powered by the GE90 engine but has recently ordered a further 16 Rolls- powered 777s.

Ms Hopkins, in London to brief financial institutions, said Boeing was keen to increase foreign ownership of its shares, which is less than 10 per cent. She said a London listing for Boeing was an "interesting thought" but not a top priority.

Boeing has recently embarked on a "managing for value" programme designed to reduce costs by $2.1bn, slim its supplier base from 31,000 companies to 18,000 and reduce inventory costs.

Ms Hopkins also said Boeing was keen to develop a new services division to add to its three core businesses of commercial aircraft, military aircraft and space and communications.