Tue, Feb 10, 2009
Both Chide Boeing For Strike-Related Delays
Two of commercial aviation's biggest names had sobering comments
about Boeing Commercial Aircraft last week, marring what should
have been the cheerful occasion of the delivery of a new Boeing 777
to V Australia.
The Seattle Times reports that on Friday, Steven Udvar-Hazy, CEO
of International Lease Finance Corporation, countered Boeing
predictions of steady production through the end of this year. He
predicted that both Boeing and Airbus could cut production by a
third in the next 18 months, virtually guaranteeing layoffs.
ILFC buys airliners to lease to carriers, and is the largest
Boeing customer in the world.
Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin group of airlines,
appeared conscious his comments would reach both execs and workers
at Boeing, and did not mince words. He commented on his new 777,
which was supposed to have been delivered last year.
"It was a horrible mess that Boeing was on strike," he said. "We
messed up tens of thousands of passengers over Christmas. We had to
buy tickets on other airlines and scramble to get seats which
weren't available. The financial damage in an industry where the
margins are minute is catastrophic."
"Britain was plagued by strikes 30 years ago. America should
have got over this by now," Branson pointedly added.
Udvar-Hazy said of 2009, "It could happen that this will be the
year when net cancellations and deferrals actually exceed the
number of new aircraft orders. The elements are out there for that
Regarding Branson's comments on Boeing labor woes, Udvar-Hazy
added "You can't deal with companies that are unreliable."
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