Ohio, region could benefit from Boeing deal

Company spent $12.2 billion with Ohio companies in 2015

Boeing’s new commercial aviation agreement with Iran airlines will boost business in Ohio for the hundreds of suppliers located in the state, a company spokesman and local suppliers said Tuesday.

The deal — described as the biggest business agreement between the Islamic Republic and America since the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran — could involve 100 Boeing aircraft valued at $25 billion.

The company said all sales and contracts with Iran will be “contingent” on U.S. government approval.

“For Ohio and the region, anytime you can enhance the orders or the customer base to increase the supply chain here in Ohio, it’s always a good thing for jobs,” said Ohio Aviation Hub director Kerry Taylor.

Boeing has 384 suppliers and vendors in Ohio and spent $12.2 billion with those companies in 2015. That supports some 400,000 Ohio jobs, directly and indirectly, the company said.

Boeing directly employs 519 people in Ohio and has 5,849 retirees in the state.

In general, Ohio remains a strong supplier to the aviation industry, said Taylor, a retired Air Force colonel, whose role at the Dayton-based hub is to draw aerospace businesses and technologies to the Dayton region and identifying potential partners and relationships with companies already here.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “Now more can be done. That’s where I come in, my particular job.”

Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said he could not say how much business Ohio firms will see as a result of the deal, but added, “all Boeing sales bring business to Ohio.”

Local suppliers to Boeing include West Chester Twp.’s CFM International, Dayton’s Projects Unlimited and Unison Industries, Beavercreek’s ATK Space Systems, Airplane Plastics in Tipp City, GE Aviation in Evendale and Vandalia and many others.

Defense contractor Projects Unlimited has about 160 employees.

“It has been pretty steady with Boeing, but not as great as some of the other companies we work with,” Nick Fullenkamp, Projects Unlimited marketing manager, said of his company’s relationship with aircraft manufacturer giant.

Most of the work the company does with Boeing is military-related, so he doubted whether Projects Unlimited would see any part of the work for Iran.

Jarrod Murry, contracts manager for defense contractor Innovative Technologies Corp., said Boeing has remained a reliable software customer for at least 10 years, at a fairly steady clip. The business has fewer than 100 area employees.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said, “The State Department welcomes Boeing’s announcement of this deal with Iran Air, which involves the type of permissible business activity envisioned in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Boeing has been in close contact with the State Department regarding this deal. We committed, as you know, to license sales of civil passenger aircraft and will continue to implement this in all of our JCPOA commitments.”

He added that, “The JCPOA provides an opening for civil aviation companies, including American companies, to pursue legitimate commerce with Iran, and we note reports of progress in the aviation sector, which is good both — for both the economy and for public safety.”

Asked to comment on Boeing’s assertion that the company had signed the Iran Air agreement under authorizations from the U.S. government, a spokesperson for the Treasury Department said, “We do not comment about engagement with specific private entities. This is a policy across all of our sanctions programs. It is not specific to our Iran sanctions program.”

Iran Air, the country’s national carrier, said Monday it wanted to buy new Boeing 737s and 777s. The 737s are single aisle jets, typically used for flights of up to five hours. The 777 is a larger plane that can carry passengers for 12 hours or more.

Earlier Tuesday, Iran’s Transportation Minister Abbas Akhoundi said possible deals between the Islamic Republic and Boeing is on par with the country’s earlier agreement with its European rival, Airbus, another company with a large amount of suppliers in Ohio. That deal was for 118 new planes. Iran also has ordered 20 airplanes from French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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