Two years ago, had anyone forecast that Boeing would be in extreme financial difficulty in 2020, we would have viewed them as crazy. Today, after Boeing has drawn down the remainder of its recent $13.5 billion loan, lost additional MAX orders from Air Canada, and experiences reduced demand as new international travel bans come into place, such thoughts are no longer crazy.

Troubles at Boeing with the 737 MAX have now been compounded by the growing impacts of the coronavirus. The confluence of two major issues has now stressed Boeing financially and the company is undertaking new initiatives to ensure its survival. The February numbers show that order cancellations exceed new orders — resulting in negative net orders — an actual reduction in aircraft backlog for Boeing.

Reports that Boeing will now bow to regulators on the MAX wiring issue exacerbates the difficulties in bringing back the aircraft into service. The industry rumor mill speaks about two additional issues that could further push back a return to service if Transport Canada and EASA stick to their thoughts. Our view is that the earliest return to service will be the 4th quarter, and the possibility exists for a two-year grounding, depending on international regulator actions.

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