The local economy is paying close attention to whether or not Boeing Company will keep its promise to invest in a maximum of US$100 million in Yeongcheon City, North Gyeongsang province, as the Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced its plans to review the model selection for the next-generation fighter plane business (FX Business) from the beginning all over again.
Although some view Boeing’s investment linked with the FX business, North Gyeongsang Province and Yeongcheon City will host the Boeing Avionics MRO Center grand opening ceremony on October 14 and expect the investment to follow through as planned.
According to Yeongcheon City, Boeing will hold the grand opening ceremony of its avionics MRO center at the Gyeongbuk Research Institute of Vehicle Embedded Technology in Nokjeon, Yeongcheon City, on October 14 with Representative Joseph Song of Korea Defense Business Department and other figures attending. The 1,010m2 Boeing MRO Center is being constructed on the 14,052m2 site in Nokjeon, scheduled to be up and running by October next year.
In May last year, during President Park Geun-hye’s visit to the US, Boeing announced its plans to invest a maximum of US$100 million. So far, the US has been responsible for the MRO processes for Boeing’s avionic parts, but the plan is to have the Yeongcheon MRO center take charge. This is the first time for Boeing to build an MRO center in not only Korea, but also in Asia overall.
Therefore, Boeing’s MRO Center construction has contributed greatly to improving Korea’s aviation industry and will continue to serve as a stepping stone for Korea to grow into Boeing’s Asia-Pacific MRO location.
Following the MRO Center grand opening ceremony, North Gyeongbuk Province, Yeongcheon City, and Boeing will also host the “2nd North Gyeongbuk International Aviation Forum” at the Seoul Grand Intercontinental Hotel on October 31.
At this forum, over 400 domestic and international aviation companies, universities, research associates, and others will participate to discuss Boeing’s keynote speech, Yeongcheon City’s policies to cultivate the aviation industry, its methods to grow into the Asian hub, win-win and development strategies between international aerospace companies and the Boeing MRO center, and other topics.
In fact, Yeongcheon City trying to stimulate the avionic parts industry by planning on a national project called the “avionics examination and evaluation center construction” to be completed by 2016, investing a total 37 billion won (US$34.6 million), including 22 billion won (US$22.6 million) in governmental funds. This center will be 3,865m2 in size (one main center and two testing centers) and will be built next to the Boeing MRO Center for evaluating, approving, and supporting development technologies for all sorts of avionic parts.
It is possible though, with the announcement to review the model selection for the next-generation fighter plane business from the beginning all over again, for the FX business result to affect Boeing’s investment plans. However, in a conversation with a company representative at the recent Yeongcheon CCI, a Boeing director said, “The FX business and Yeongcheon MRO Center constructions are not related, and the investment plan will not be changed.”
Yeongcheon City Mayor Kim Yeong-seok also said, “Boeing’s Avionic MRO Center and the avionics examination and evaluation center construction businesses are completely separate from the FX business and are continuing very well,” and added, “The avionic parts industrial complex construction business linked with these businesses will also continue as planned.”