Navajo Nation Decides Airplane-Building Too Risky

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The Navajo Nation has opted out of a partnership with Utilicraft Aerospace to build a new twin-prop freight hauler. The project was announced in December, but then two state agencies in New Mexico reviewed the proposal and warned the tribe to proceed with extreme caution before putting any money into the project, IndianCountry.com reported on Tuesday. The tribe decided it would take too long to see a return on its investment, and backed out of the $34 million deal. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. said the memorandum of understanding agreed to in December had noted that the deal would have to clear such hurdles before being finalized. ''It was a good-faith effort on behalf of the Navajo Nation,'' Shirley said in a written statement, Indian Country reported. ''But there was an understanding with the company that this had to go through the Navajo Nation Council, and the first step in that process is the Economic Development Committee, and they've made their decision.''