BOEING LOSES $4.5 B CONTRACT WITH BRAZIL -BRAZIL GOES WITH SWEDISH FIRM

Washington Free Beacon on January 16, 2014, reported that Boeing had been one of three contenders bidding for a $4.5 billion order of 36 fighter aircraft from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). Its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet had been competing alongside the Rafale fighter from France’s Dassault Aviation SA and the single-engine JAS-39E/F from Saab Aerospace in Sweden. Excerpts below:

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff declared in a surprise announcement on Dec.18 that the Swedish aircraft was the winner of the long-running competition.

The Boeing aircraft had been a strong contender in the FAB tender, partly because F/A-18E/F would bring with it several other prominent U.S. firms such as electronics giant Raytheon and General Electric’s Aircraft Engines division. These firms stood to place major investments into the Brazilian economy as part of their bids, which could have made the Boeing choice politically popular in advance of Brazil’s 2014 elections.

Boeing has been committed to making an entrance in the Brazilian market. The Chicago-based firm made a major investment last year by lending its international maintenance network to support the overseas operations of the KC-390 cargo/aerial tanker aircraft that is built by Brazil’s national aerospace manufacturer, Embraer.

The company also opened a high-profile corporate office and technology center in Brazil and had hired a former U.S. ambassador, Donna Hrinak, to be the Boeing in-country vice president.

The single sale of 36 fighter aircraft may not seem like a major blow to Boeing, said an aviation industry analyst with close connections in Brazil, but the United States could lose out on future sales as well as economic benefits of entering an emerging market.

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