Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) has so far shed about 40 percent of the 4,500 jobs it plans to cut this year, BCA president and CEO Scott Carson told attendees of the company’s annual investors’ conference on May 21. Nevertheless, Carson struck a decidedly upbeat note at the event, calling Boeing’s long-term financial prospects “very solid,” due largely to BCA’s production rate restraint and evidence that customers have come to grips with the realities of today’s economic environment.
“My sense in having talked to [the airlines] is that no one is expecting a sharp recovery,” said Carson. “I think most are viewing this as a more gradual, more disciplined recovery, many worrying about the implications of the continued rise in fuel prices and what that might do to the cost of air travel.”
As a result, said Carson, “I don’t think you’ll see a massive pull out [of airplanes] from the desert…I think you’ll see the fleet that has been put down is the fleet that wanted to be put down and needs to be replaced just to get back to the status quo.”
Carson added that Boeing continues to project a delivery rate of between 480 and 485 this year, and that “every one of those airplanes is firmly committed.”
Although he said the company continues to watch closely for geopolitical disturbances around the world, Carson talked in positive terms about the big growth markets of China and India, both of which he said “have done a good job” of responding quickly to the economic emergency.
Notably, Carson even issued a relatively sanguine assessment of the highly distressed cargo market, whose parked fleet now stands “at levels slightly below what we saw after September 11, , and it appears to be stabilizing,” he said.