The world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, has announced a deal with Burmese firm Air Mandalay to provide an unspecified number of 737 aircraft.
Representatives of Boeing and Air Mandalay signed a memorandum of collaboration on 8 November; Burma’s Minister of Transport Nyan Htun Aung and US Ambassador Derek Mitchell witnessed the signing ceremony.
US giant Boeing said on its website that it will support Air Mandalay’s fleet renewal efforts and assist the Burmese carrier to procure Next-Generation 737 airplanes through leasing channels.
“This memorandum is an important step in our growth strategy,” said Dato’ Adam Htoon, principal of Air Mandalay, cited on Boeing’s press release. “Due to the growth of tourism and business investment in Myanmar [Burma], air transportation has become an increasingly important contributor to both the nation’s economic growth and its infrastructure development. The country is looking to position itself as a major tourism destination capable of handling an increasing number of foreign visitors. The 737s will provide us with capabilities to support this critical national growth strategy.”
Skip Boyce, president of Boeing Southeast Asia, said, “We look forward to supporting Air Mandalay on its fleet expansion strategy, setting the foundation for a long and successful partnership between Air Mandalay and Boeing. The Next-Generation 737 aircraft will provide Air Mandalay with market-leading efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort, allowing the airline to continue to prosper and grow in the region.”
On the same press release, Ambassador Mitchell was quoted saying: “The US government encourages responsible trade and investment by American companies that will support economic development, and improve the safety, security, and standard of living of the people of this country. I am pleased by the kind of long-term commercial partnership that Air Mandalay and Boeing are committing to today, which serves as a model of constructive bilateral cooperation and can play a critical role in supporting broad-based, sustainable development here more broadly.”
The 737 family is the best-selling commercial jetliner in history, with orders for more than 12,000 airplanes through October 2014 from more than 280 customers. More than 8,000 737s have been delivered, said Boeing.
Boeing is consistently one of the US government’s top contractors, ranking second in 2008 and 2009 to aerospace rival Lockheed Martin with contracts totaling US$22 billion and $23 billion respectively.
In addition to commercial aircraft, Boeing is a manufacturer and supplier of defense systems, rockets and satellites, mostly to the US military.
Since 1995, the company has agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle 39 instances of misconduct, including $615 million in 2006 in relation to illegal hiring of government officials and improper use of proprietary information, according to the Project on Government Oversight.
Air Mandalay Ltd is a private joint venture company that launched in 1994. It operates flights to 13 destinations in Burma, including tourism hotspots Heho (for Inle Lake), Bagan and Sandoway [Thandwe] (for Ngapali Beach). It also runs international charter flights to Singapore and Chiang Mai.