January 16, 2008
Sometimes, it's not "news" that makes the headlines. Sometimes, news about future news will do the trick.
News item No. 1
Investors in Airbus parent EADS received cheering news yesterday. According to multiple media reports, EADS will shortly report its best sales year ever, selling somewhere north of the 1,413 airplanes that archrival Boeing (NYSE: BA ) sold in 2007.
News item No. (the other) 1
Meanwhile, next door at Boeing, news of a different sort is brewing. The Wall Street Journal scooped its competitors yesterday with news that Boeing will soon announce a second major delay in the production of its 787 Dreamliner (so-named because marketing nixed the more accurate "Logistical Nightmare Liner").
1 + 1 = ?
The delays, which are expected to push deliveries back 10 months later than originally planned, could result in Boeing not just missing its 2009 delivery dates (and sales estimates). They would likely require Boeing to pay millions of dollars in late-delivery penalties to already-inked customers including Continental (NYSE: CAL ) , Northwest (NYSE: NWA ) , and AIG's (NYSE: AIG ) International Lease Finance subsidiary.
Delays could also complicate the signing of new deals with Delta (NYSE: DAL ) , United (Nasdaq: UAUA ) , and American Airlines (NYSE: AMR ) . Last but not least, the longer this process plays out, the greater the chance Boeing will lose customers to Airbus.
(By the way: You heard it here first, by way of Wachovia.)