Boeing chief: corona crisis will burden aviation for years to come

boeing chief: corona crisis will burden aviation for years to come

U.S. Aircraft manufacturer boeing expects the aviation industry to recover only very slowly from the corona crisis.

"We expect it to take two to three years for travel volumes to return to 2019 levels," boeing chief executive dave calhoun warned shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting. Due to the pandemic, the event could only take place on the internet.

It may take a few more years for the aviation industry to return to its long-term growth trend, calhoun said. The crisis is "unlike anything we have ever experienced" and it is "difficult to assess when the situation will stabilize". Two days before the quarterly report, boeing’s chief executive did not comment specifically on measures such as further cost-cutting programs and job reductions that could help the company respond to the crisis.

The airbus heart rival is already in dire straits because of the 737 max model, which was grounded after two airplane crashes, and the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are causing the company further distress. In view of the crisis, boeing had already fully drawn down a 13.8 billion dollar (12.8 billion euro) credit line in mid march. The company also cut calhoun’s salary and that of larry kellner, chairman of the board of directors, until the end of the year; dividend payments and share buybacks were also suspended.

At the annual meeting, boeing’s chief executive was coy about the timetable for the recertification of the 737 max crisis jet. U.S. Media had recently reported that the certification targeted for the middle of the year could be further delayed due to the corona crisis. Regarding the acquisition of the commercial aircraft division of rival embraer, which was called off on saturday, calhoun said that a point had been reached at which "negotiations were no longer helpful". Embraer seeks damages and has initiated arbitration proceedings.

At least boeing had one piece of good news for shareholders: production of the 787 dreamliner long-haul jet, which had been halted due to the corona crisis, is expected to restart soon. Operations at the plants in the u.S. State of south carolina will restart as early as next weekend, the company announced in north charleston. Boeing had stopped production on 8. April temporarily suspended due to pandemic. In the meantime, various security inspections had been carried out, the company said.

The announcement was well received by investors, and the share price rose sharply after the announcement. Last week, boeing had already begun to gradually ramp up production at its factories in the puget sound region near seattle, washington state. Due to a production freeze on the ill-fated 737 max, which has been banned since january, boeing’s overall production will remain severely limited for the time being.

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