It's been a little more than a month now since Boeing (NYSE:BA) told investors it will stop paying its dividend "until further notice." It could be another three to five years before they get it back.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, speaking at the Boeing annual shareholders meeting, warned that, as a result of the COVID-19 crash in air travel and the tremendous destruction in demand for airplanes that resulted from it, Boeing is going to have to "borrow more money in the next six months in order to get through this really difficult moment," Reuters reports.  

Collage of an airplane, coronaviruses, and a world map

Image source: Getty Images.

Borrowing money, of course, is just the first step in getting Boeing through the looming recession. Assuming Boeing survives, says Calhoun, "our first priority is going to be to pay [that borrowed money] back, the principle and the interest that goes with it." At the same time, Boeing needs to keep spending on buying airplane parts from its suppliers, "to keep that flow of money going to the supply chain so that they have some predictability around how they operate," and so that, once the recession is over and airlines resume buying airplanes, Boeing will be able to get the parts it needs to build those airplanes.

As a result, there's not going to be a lot of money left over with which to pay dividend checks to shareholders. So "it's going to be a while before dividends come back" -- perhaps as long as "three to five years."

Despite learning that Boeing is now no longer a dividend stock, Boeing shares traded relatively flat on Monday, closing down 0.23%.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.