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Boeing Opens New Engineering and Techonology Center in Brazil

Boeing expands investment in Brazil, touts Sustainable Aviation Fuel partnership

Boeing’s Everett, Wash. factory in 2019. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fangzhong Guo)

On Tuesday, Boeing announced the opening of its Engineering and Technology Center in Brazil, one of 15 Boeing engineering sites worldwide that develop advanced technology to drive aerospace innovation. Based in São José dos Campos (SP), where the company began operations in 2014, the engineering center is an expansion of Boeing’s strategic investments in Brazil, employing about 500 engineers supporting current and future programs.

“Boeing’s longstanding partnership with Brazil dates back more than 90 years, and during that time, we have collaborated with the Brazilian aerospace industry and community to tap into the incredible technical abilities and problem-solving skills of Brazilian engineers,” said Lynne Hopper, vice president of Boeing Engineering, Strategy and Operations.

“Their expertise strengthens our commitment to engineering excellence and positions us to tackle the next generation of challenges in our industry,” Hooper.

Settling Lawsuits?

The move comes more than three years after the company ended the $4.2 billion deal to buy Embraer’s commercial branch. In addition, the regional jet manufacturer was also among a group that sought to stop the aerospace giant from poaching local talents in court.

A Boeing 737 MAX 10 on a test flight.
(Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Abimde (Brazilian Association of Defense Materials Industry) and AIAB (Association of Aerospace Industries of Brazil) sued in November 2022 to interrupt the hiring in draconian terms. It’s unclear if Boeing’s Memorandum of Understanding for Technological Cooperation with the state of São Paulo includes any concession regarding the lawsuit filed in the state’s 3rd Federal Court of São José dos Campos.

Boeing’s Talent Problem

The new engineering center is part of the Arlington, Va.-based company’s initiative to ditch Russia, where it used to hire as many as 1,500 engineers. The company had to shutter its operations in Russia weeks after the country started invading Ukraine. The US company relocated about 100 engineers from its Moscow engineering center to countries in the Middle East and East Europe. However, the interruption still left a dent in its engineering resources.

Although not very directly impacting Boeing, the recent conflict in Israel will undoubtedly impact the company’s ability on some of its engineering projects due to its relationship with companies such as Israel Aerospace Industries. The Middle Eastern company supplies the 787’s passenger & cargo floor grids, door surrounds, and the pivot bulkhead. In the past, Boeing has also inducted many engineers from its supplier’s cargo conversion division to its own. 

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 testbed aircraft.
(Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Boeing is also facing more challenges at its home base in the Seattle area. It lost more than 500 of its senior engineers due to pension changes in 2022. It has also lost its engineering talents to tech companies for many years. A slew of new space and aerospace start-ups are also fighting fiercely for engineers in the area. For instance, Amazon’s Blue Origin has grown from 850 employees to more than 3,000 in the Seattle area in 2022. In the last two years, both MagniX and ZeroAvia, leaders in electric and hydrogen aircraft propulsion, opened offices down the street from Boeing. 

The challenges have forced Boeing to fill the holes elsewhere. However, it’s concerning how much more fragmented the Aerospace’s giant operations will become and how that will affect its effectiveness as a product design organization.

Fangzhong Guo

Author

  • Fangzhong Guo

    Fangzhong grew up near an OEM airport in northeastern China, where he developed his enthusiasm for aviation. Taking upon his passion, he's now working as an aircraft interior design engineer. Besides working in the aerospace industry, Fangzhong enjoys trying out different types of airplanes and seeing how airplane interiors have evolved. So far, he's flown on over 80 types of aircraft. He also planespots in his spare time. His rarest catches included the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and AN-225.

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