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As Boeing, Airbus factories hum, suppliers get rattled

Planemakers ask for better deals from firms making parts

[NEW YORK] The world's largest planemakers are soaring these days, fuelled by historic demand for new jets that has cranked up their factories to record speeds.

But booming sales of aircraft, far from being a bonanza for suppliers, are spurring brutal competition between Airbus Group NV and Boeing Co, which are demanding better deals from the companies that make billions of parts the factories need.

GM Nameplate is one such company. The 400-employee Seattle firm makes the signs and placards posted on everything from overhead bins to emergency exits: about 1,500 signs per plane, or 1.6 million a year to Boeing alone.

As Boeing sped up jet output by 40 per cent over the last three years, it not only...

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