Boeing boosts footprint in Vietnam with permanent office

May 16, 2023 | 21:00
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With the opening of permanent office in Vietnam, Boeing has demonstrated its strong interest and long-term commitment to Vietnam. Dr. Brendan Nelson, president of Boeing Global, and Michael Nguyen, managing director of Boeing Vietnam, spoke with VIR’s Bich Thuy about the future plans of the company.
Boeing boosts footprint in Vietnam with permanent office
Brendan Nelson, President of Boeing Global

What is the main purpose of your visit?

Brendan Nelson: I have come to Vietnam because it is an important country. It is one of the first countries that I have visited since I have taken on the responsibility for Boeing's global operations. And the visit is informed much more by what we intend to do in the future than what we have done in the past.

Apart from meetings with Vietnamese government officials and ministers, I also officially opened our permanent office.

Considering the relationships that we have with suppliers, the airlines and listening to advice and suggestions on what more we could and should do.

Among my responsibilities is to serve on the Executive Council of the Boeing Company, and to report to the CEO of The Boeing Company, David Calhoun, the opportunities that exist in Vietnam and the vision the country has for its aviation sector.

Boeing is proudly an American parent company, but we are determined to genuinely globalise our business, to invest in and partner with the countries with whom we do business.

We have a significant presence in 20 countries outside the United States, and presence in another 35.

Vietnam is one of our most important countries – it is one of those 20. Vietnam is a respected and influential member of ASEAN. It has deeply committed to the Indo-Pacific economic framework.

It is a nation of 100 million people with economic growth in excess of 6 per cent, and our determination is to do everything we can to support the development and growth of the aviation industry in Vietnam.

We are determined to play our role in seeing that the Vietnamese people have access to flight, and opportunities for employment in every aspect of the aviation industry in Vietnam.

We currently have six suppliers in Vietnam. We want to grow those numbers and are currently working directly with five Vietnamese suppliers to train them in getting to the safety and technical standards necessary to join our supply chains.

We held the first Boeing Vietnam Aviation Industry conference late last year. This attracted 100 companies, suppliers and universities. And of course, Vietnamese aviation officials.

In March this year, we held a four-day seminar to provide training and assistance in every aspect of airport and aviation management. We have also held a suppliers’ conference.

And we are doing everything we can to assist the Vietnamese airlines in operations and in the acquisition of new aircraft.

Boeing boosts footprint in Vietnam with permanent office

The Prime Minister asked Boeing to support the development of the aerospace industry in Vietnam, particularly in aircraft maintenance centres in Chu Lai of the central province of Quang Nam. What is your comment on this?

Michael Nguyen: We listened to the Vietnamese government regarding their request for us to consider certain locations, including Chu Lai.

We will give it serious consideration. But we do not have any decision regarding having a maintenance facility in Chu Lai or any other place at this time.

So, we are working with the potential partners in Vietnam, including the airlines, to consider having a repair maintenance centre to support our customers. And a part of that consideration is to have a critical mass of Boeing aircraft that needs maintenance.

The Vietnamese government has for long hoped for Boeing to help develop the aviation industry in Vietnam, but most suppliers are foreign. What are the possibilities of helping domestic suppliers join Boeing supply chains?

Brendan Nelson: We are here with a permanent office, in part because we need to and want to build a bigger supply chain with Vietnamese businesses. We would like more Vietnamese suppliers and our responsibility is to help train local businesses to meet the quality, safety, and certification standards that are required to be part of our supply chain.

We believe in Vietnam, and we want to develop the suppliers in Vietnam.

Michael Nguyen: Regarding the current suppliers that we have, it is important to note that I estimate close to 95 per cent of the workers, professionals and managers of our current suppliers (in Vietnam) are Vietnamese people.

Boeing boosts footprint in Vietnam with permanent office
Boeing opens new permanent office in Vietnam

Green growth is an inevitable trend in Vietnam and airlines are getting serious about hydrogen-powered planes. What should the country do to position itself as the top hydrogen supplier to global airlines?

Brendan Nelson: The Vietnamese government has committed to net-zero by 2050. We share this ambition. We are completely committed to decarbonising aviation, and every aspect of aviation in the manufacture of aircraft, in the management of energy and waste, and of course, the use of fuels.

We admire the vision of the Vietnamese government in working and investing in hydrogen. Boeing has been doing a lot of work testing hydrogen-powered and electric-powered aircraft.

In the near term, over the next 30 years, the key solution is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). We have almost completed a detailed study of the production of SAF, feedstock, sources etc. its production and distribution in Southeast Asia. This is an area where we would like to work with Vietnam because it is ideally placed for the feedstock for SAF, and perhaps its production.

So, of course, we would like to explore with Vietnam how we can work together for the production of and uptake of SAF for aviation whilst seeing a longer-term place for hydrogen.

All of those figures for the growth in aviation in Vietnam in the next decade demand that all of us, as quickly as we can, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

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By Bich Thuy

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