Julie Felgar: 'Mushrooming growth in the emerging markets'

    Speaking on the sidelines of the Devex Impact Strategic Advisory Council meeting in Washington D.C., Julie Felgar, Boeing’s director of international operations and policy, described the connection between selling airplanes and partnering with governments to promote sustainable development. 

    “We have in the next 20 years a $4.5 trillion airplane market, and over 50 percent of that is coming from the emerging market space, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East,” she said.

    “There’s a direct correlation between GDP growth and revenue passenger kilometers, and you see it trending upwards with one another. So if you can get in and invest in the community, clearly you’re going to have a growing market going forward.”

    Felgar also spoke about the challenges of building sophistication into local supply chains, local labor forces and airport infrastructure.

    While she noted that Boeing has corporate social responsibility projects around the world, focused on women’s education, potable water and other issues, she said the company aims to “align our business interest with the interests of growing that economy, preferably higher up the value chain.”

    Felgar also spoke about the strategic value of engaging in partnerships for development. 

    “We’re not the only airplane manufacturer in the world. Countries are sophisticated now, and they are making their decisions based on who is going to partner with them best,” she said. 

    “So if you’re not in there, working with the countries and helping them on their strategic needs, you’re losing your brand as a company.”

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    About the author

    • Andrea Useem

      As former associate editor and content director for Devex Impact, Andrea created and managed cutting-edge content on the intersection of business and international development. An experienced multimedia journalist, Andrea also served as leadership editor at the Washington Post and spent three years as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Africa reporting for publications including the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and San Francisco Chronicle.