TOKYO -- Fuji Heavy Industries plans to open a new factory as soon as next year to produce parts for Boeing's next-generation 777X passenger jets.
The facility will be built adjacent to an existing plant that assembles parts for Boeing's current mainstay 777 jets in the Aichi Prefecture city of Handa, near Nagoya.
The Japanese company is expected to spend more than 10 billion yen ($97.6 million) for the new plant, which will make parts that connect the primary wing to the fuselage, likely churning out enough to equip 100 of the new aircraft a year.
As is the case with 777 jets, two domestic rivals -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries -- are also expected to participate in building bodies for the 777X.
Boeing procured 430 billion yen worth of parts from Japan last year, including those for the 787 midsize jetliner.
Deliveries of the large, roughly 400-seat 777X jets are slated to begin in 2020. Boeing has, unofficially, already received orders for some 300 of the aircraft from clients including ANA Holdings and Emirates Airlines. Boeing aims to make the new jets about 20% more fuel-efficient than the current 777s, in part by reducing weight.
The three Japanese companies together produce 21% of the body for the 777, of which there are 1,400 in operation or on order. For the next-generation jet, Boeing will continue building the primary wings in the U.S. in response to labor union demands. But because Japanese companies will still supply fuselages and other parts, their manufacturing proportion of the new jet's body will remain about the same.
Fuji Heavy, which also produces 787 parts, has received high marks for its ability to make components lighter. The company will endeavor to make its production processes more efficient, seeking to reduce component costs by about 20% compared with those for the 777.