The fall in air transport since the start of the pandemic has been added to the setbacks of the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which plans to further reduce its production rates, lay off more staff and stop production of the legendary "Jumbo Jet". "747 in 2022.
Read also: Boeing will cease production of the legendary "Jumbo Jet" 747 in 2022
The American group was already mired in the 737 MAX crisis, its flagship plane banned from flying since March 2019 after two fatal accidents, when the Covid-19 plunged sales of plane tickets and temporarily ceased production in factories. Result: Boeing delivered only 20 aircraft in the second quarter. Its revenue fell 25% over the period to $ 11.81 billion. And the group lost a total of $ 2.4 billion.
The aircraft manufacturer had warned in the spring that, to adapt to the new air landscape, its speeds were going to slow down. He now plans to slow down the assembly lines even more. The companies, cornered by the fall of their incomes, "take difficult decisions like the immobilization of the apparatuses on the ground, the postponement of orders, the postponement of deliveries, the slowdown or the suspension of payments" , justified the boss of Boeing David Calhoun on a conference call. Also the group, which began to produce 737 MAX again in the spring, anticipates a "slower than expected" increase in assembly rates to 31 devices per month at the start of 2022, instead of 2021.
New layoffs to be expected
The 737 MAX recently approached its return to the skies with a series of certification flights in late June. While insisting that the resumption of service of the device would depend on the green light from the authorities, David Calhoun indicated that deliveries should resume in the fourth quarter, and not in the third quarter as planned so far. Boeing will also produce only six 787 Dreamliner aircraft per month in 2021 against ten currently, as well as two 777 and 777X aircraft per month against five currently. Management has also indicated that it is considering the possibility of bringing together the production of the 787, currently spread over two factories in the states of Washington and South Carolina, on a single site.
The aircraft manufacturer, which had already planned at the end of April the abolition of 10% of its positions, or 16,000 jobs, warned that it would have to "further review the size of its workforce" . "This is difficult news, and I know it adds uncertainty during an already difficult time," said David Calhoun in a letter to staff without giving details on the number of people potentially affected. “We will try to limit the impact on our employees as much as possible ,” he added. He admitted on CNBC that the short-term situation had "become more difficult" .
A return to normal expected within three years
Like the airlines, the aircraft manufacturer did not necessarily expect a "resurgence of the virus" in the United States, and "flight schedules are unlikely to return to normal as quickly as expected," he said. he thinks. But in the long term, the group still hopes the situation will recover within three years. It is thus a little more optimistic than the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which estimated on Tuesday that global air traffic would not return to its pre-crisis level before 2024.
Read also: No return of global air traffic to pre-crisis level before 2024, according to Iata
In the second quarter, Boeing was able to count on the good performance of its defense and space division, which managed to stabilize its turnover when that of the division manufacturing commercial aircraft plunged 65%. That of the services division fell by 23%. Finally, the aircraft manufacturer also formalized Wednesday the end of production in 2022 of its legendary 747 aircraft, the "Jumbo Jet" that airlines are gradually withdrawing from their fleets. On Wall Street, Boeing shares were down 2.4% in mid-session after losing as much as 5%. The stock has already plunged just under 50% since the start of the year.