“It’s a very competitive market. When we see the flattening of defense budgets in Europe and U.S, emerging markets become more important and clearly Middle East is up there.”
Johnson said high oil prices coupled with threats to the region were going to allow Gulf armed forces to upgrade their military resources.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had been expected to finalize a $10 billion deal with Dassault (AVMD.PA) to buy 60 of the French group’s Rafale jets, but talks faltered as the UAE said the terms were uncompetitive.
Others have also been trying to sell their wares. British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the UAE earlier this month, hoping to get it to consider the BAE Systems-built (BAES.L) Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet.
Boeing is not in active talks with the UAE on this deal.
“We have offered our platforms. If one of those fits the bill, we will certainly talk to the customer. But we are not in any kind of active discussions,” Johnson said.
Boeing has offered its fighter jets to other Gulf states including Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Egypt has also been a top customer for Boeing in defense and commercial planes, and it has strong trade relations with Jordan and Iraq.
777X IN NEAR-TERM
Johnson dismissed concerns that airlines may opt for rival Airbus’ (EAD.PA) A350-1000 passenger jet if the new version of Boeing’s popular 777 plane is delayed.