The Boeing Co. confirmed Saturday it would sell up to $512 million worth of 747 jumbo jets to South Africa in a deal that drew strong criticism from members of the state's congressional delegation.
The aircraftmaker based here and South African Transport Minister Eli Louw in Johannesburg said in separate announcements that South African Airways would buy two Boeing 747-400 jets for $256 million. The planes are to be delivered in November 1990 and May 1991.The government-owned airline also has options for two more aircraft, which would be delivered in 1992 for another $256 million.
The announcement confirmed a report published Saturday in The Seattle Times.
Sen. Brock Adams, D-Wash., is "violently opposed to the sale," said spokeswoman Barbara Smith. "He finds it very inappropriate."
House Majority Leader Tom Foley, D-Wash., said in Spokane that he thinks Boeing officials know there are strong feelings in the United States and Seattle about South Africa's system of apartheid, or racial segregation.
Foley said he had a "forthright talk" with Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Dean Thornton, who told him that "Boeing has a longstanding policy to sell its planes without regard to foreign policy as long as the sale is legal."
U.S. policies do not prohibit such sales to South Africa. Boeing shareholders recently voted down a stockholder-proposed measure that would have prohibited doing business with South Africa.