Boeing reliance on Russia underscores aerospace industry’s failure to have it all

The western civil and defense aerospace business has long believed that Russia could be its customer, supplier and adversary to its patron governments – all at the same time.

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Release Date
March 2, 2022
Boeing reliance on Russia underscores aerospace industry’s failure to have it all
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended the global commercial aerospace business that relies on both countries as customer, supplier and home to key engineering operations. Boeing, in particular, is stumbling as it attempts to walk a fine line between the world’s condemnation of Russia’s assault and its own longstanding business and political interests.

In the days since the Feb. 24 invasion, Boeing shuttered its operations in Russia and restricted access to sensitive technical data by employees there, but the aerospace giant confirmed to The Air Current on March 2 that it briefly applied for an export license with the U.S. Department of Commerce to support the reactivation of its “suspended” Moscow Design Center and flight training campus.

Related: Disconnecting Russia from aviation’s world order came gradually – then all at once

“We withdrew our application and we are not pursuing a license,” a Boeing spokesman said. Three people briefed on Boeing’s plans said the aerospace giant on March 1 had sought an export license and had expected to have it in hand to continue operations in Moscow within a month.

The company’s brief push for an export license to reconnect its Moscow operations to the rest of the company highlights its dependence on Russia for its day-to-day activities as an aircraft manufacturer. Boeing declined to say why it withdrew its application.

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