Japan Wants to Build Boeing’s Next-Gen Commercial Plane

February 12, 2016, 2:52 PM UTC
Boeing's first 737 MAX named the "Spirit of Renton" is parked on the tarmac at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington on December 8, 2015. The latest version of Boeing's best-selling 737, introduced in the mid-1960s, is due to make its first flight early next year and reach customers in 2017. It will burn an estimated 14 percent less fuel per seat than current 737s and fly farther, allowing airlines to open new routes. AFP PHOTO/JASON REDMOND / AFP / JASON REDMOND (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Jason Redmond — AFP/Getty Images

Post updated Friday at 11:10 a.m.

When it comes to commercial airplane sales, Airbus (AIR) has been eating Boeing’s (BA)lunch lately.

But according to a report Friday in the Nikkei Asian Review, a trio of Japanese conglomerates wants to ride to the rescue, with a revenue and risk sharing plan to help the Seattle-based company build the successor to Boeing’s 737 Max series, set to debut in 2017.

“The plan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries would have each partner contribute part of the development and commercial production costs for the aircraft,” according to the report. “The trio would split profit from the project with Boeing in proportion to each’s investment, thereby taking on part of the risk of revenue shifts.”

The three companies are subcontractors on Boeing’s latest model, the 787, but this proposal would differ because the companies would be taking on both higher risk and potential for higher profit, rather than simply building parts for a specified price.

When reached for comment, a Boeing spokesperson said that the report was “purely speculative and untrue.”

This post was updated to include comments from a Boeing spokesperson.