Parent of Boeing rival to help make new Boeing airplane

European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., which owns 80 percent of Boeing Co.'s archrival Airbus SAS, will supply an important part for Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing supplier Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. said Monday that EADS' military aircraft unit will supply the 787 aft pressure bulkhead from its operations in Augsburg, Germany.

Vought, based in Dallas, is a major structural partner for the 787, responsible for two aft fuselage sections. But it is outsourcing some of the work to other companies, including EADS and Korean Air Lines' aerospace division.

Airbus recently launched the A350, which is designed to compete directly with Boeing's 787. The 787 will enter service in 2008. The A350 is scheduled to begin commercial flights in 2010.

The EADS Augsburg operation that will supply the 787 part also is responsible for an air-tanker program that could compete directly with Boeing's 767 tanker for a U.S. government contract.

Boeing spokeswoman Yvonne Leach told The Seattle Times the fact that the parent of Boeing's big competitor is also a Boeing supplier is one of "the ironies of life." But she said Boeing doesn't have an issue with it.

This isn't the first time EADS is doing work for its competitor. The company's Spanish division also supplies Boeing 777 flight-control flaps and the Boeing 737 rudder.

Australia's Hawker de Havilland, which is owned by Boeing, produces components for some Airbus aircraft, AP reported. V.A.

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