Airlines Taking Fewer Boeing Jets

Last Updated Jan 28, 2009 9:03 PM EST

In an indicator of how the world's airines are faring, Boeing today announced it plans to deliver about 20 fewer jets this year than it originally had planned.

The news came as Boeing announced it lost $58 million in the most recent quarter because of last fall's machinist-union strike, increased spending to develop its new 747-8 and increases in legal costs.

In a conference call with reporters and analysts, CEO Jim McNerney and CFO James Bell said Boeing now projects delivering between 480 and 485 jets in 2009. In July, it said it expected to deliver 500 to 505 planes this year.

That was before the global credit crisis, however. A recent survey by analysts UBS Investments Research showed that about a third of the world's airlines would like to defer deliveries of jets they've got on order with Boeing and Airbus this year. That's up from eight percent three months ago, reports Bloomberg News.

So far, Boeing hasn't reported any order cancellations in the new year, although McNerney said this morning that a previously announced buyer for 15 787s is backing away from the deal. McNerney didn't identify the buyer, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that it's Russia's S7 Airlines, which had placed an order for 15 Dreamliners in May 2007. FlightGlobal.com says those jets were set for delivery "late in the next decade."
Boeing plans to provide airlines with about a billion dollars in new-jet financing this year, Bell said.

Boeing also announced plans to trim another 5,500 workers this year, on top of the 4,500-person job cut it announced earlier. The company still seems to be avoiding cuts to its factory production staff. McNerney said this second round of cuts will be spread nationwide across support services, corporate staff and Boeing's defense business. The first round of cuts were focused on support activities related to Boeing's Seattle-based commercial jet business.