Boeing Caught in Crosswinds

If Boeing's (NYSE: BA  ) up-today-down-tomorrow stock price jerks have you feeling a bit sick to your stomach, you're not alone. I imagine that the divergent flight paths of Boeing's two biggest airplane stories are giving management a case of the tummy-queasies, as well.

Take this week's news, for example. We started off on a high note, with Bloomberg confirming that Delta (NYSE: DAL  ) remains fully committed to the idea of installing 787 Dreamliners in its airplane fleet. It didn't take long, though, for the sub-story to emerge: Yes, Delta's still buying 18 new Boeings, but the plane that was supposed to begin bringing Delta revenue in 2008 will instead be pushed back by more than a decade. Delta deferred its deliveries ... to 2020.

Warning: Whiplash ahead
Ah, well. We knew there would be delays. And there's always the hope that the U.A.E. will fill Delta's place in line and keep the 787 revenues flowing. Except there's just one problem: Boeing itself. In its latest installment of a long history of delays, Boeing announced Tuesday that 787 supplier Alenia Aeronautica has developed "issues" with the horizontal stabilizers that it builds for the Dreamliner. Boeing immediately yanked the emergency brakes on production and told suppliers including United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) , Honeywell (NYSE: HON  ) , and General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) to halt parts deliveries while Alenia gets itself straightened out.

Boeing, of course, reassured customers that include AMR (NYSE: AMR  ) and United Continental (NYSE: UAL  ) that the delay will not affect Dreamliner deliveries, but we've heard that song before. (And Delta's no longer listening.)

Safe flight
Statistics tell us that even the most hellacious airplane trips generally end safely back on the tarmac, however. And so it is that after a truly turbulent week, Boeing ended on an up note Friday. According to a joint press release with Russia's Rostechnology, the ink is now dry on Russia's commitment to buy 50 Next Generation 737 airliners, with an option for 35 more.

So you see folks, even at Boeing, it's not all bad news.

But does the good news outweigh the bad at Boeing? Click over to Motley Fool CAPS now, and cast your vote.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2010, at 1:00 PM, mfm100 wrote:

    Maybe, If Boeing produced all the parts at its Boeing plant in Washington, utilizing Boeing workers, the plane would be in the air now!

    GREED created the problems with the 787!

    The plane has parts manufactured across the globe, when they arrive in Washington they do not fit!

    BOEING MANAGEMENT, USE YOUR EXCELLENT HIGHLY SKILLED AMERICAN WORKERS!

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