When Boeing (NYSE: BA ) recently announced it had received Federal Aviation Authority certification for its 747-8F freighter, that was one small step toward fulfilling investor hopes for the company's revival. Then Boeing made the giant leap everyone's been waiting for.
In simultaneous announcements, Boeing confirmed Friday that both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency have certified the 787 Dreamliner for commercial operation. Boeing's now cleared to begin delivering Dreamliners to inaugural customer All Nippon Airways on Sept. 26. After that, there's a long line of anxious customers to service: Delta (NYSE: DAL ) , United Continental (NYSE: UAL ) , and AMR (NYSE: AMR ) are just a few of the airlines waiting to get their hands on the new bird.
What's it mean to you?
Assuming you don't run an airline, but do own Boeing stock, what this means to you is simple: Certifying the 787 for flight marks the "end of the beginning" of Boeing's long trip back into investors' good graces. Three years of delays, excuses, and broken promises have left Boeing's credibility in tatters, but the good news in the past couple of weeks gives Boeing a chance to begin rebuilding after the storm.
Despite all its troubles so far, and despite the threat of both customers and suppliers such as Spirit AeroSystems, General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) suing Boeing over disruptions to their business caused by its delays ... even despite all this, Boeing insists its 787 program will ultimately earn it a profit. Management admits that it could take "several hundred deliveries" for the company to begin breaking even on its investment. But Boeing has 827 planes on order already, and will almost certainly sell more in years to come, now that it's proven the 787 can fly.
Given time, Boeing will earn a profit on this plane. Given time, investors will begin to trust Boeing again.
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