Boeing posted better-than-expected quarterly results and lifted its financial outlook on Wednesday, but signaled it may juggle plane production to keep profits flowing as one of its two main cash cows dries up.
Boeing said it could cut production by as much as 15 percent on its 777 long-range, widebody jetliner, one of its most profitable planes and a key source of cash.
The talk of a possible slowdown to as few as seven a month from the current 8.3 came as Boeing posted narrower losses on its 787 Dreamliner and voiced confidence in that plane’s ability to generate cash and fill the gap.
The world’s largest plane maker said it also is still considering an increase in production of the single-aisle 737, its other main cash cow, despite concerns from engine maker CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co and Safran SA of France, about meeting those rising rates.
Taken together, the moves would cushion the blow of what had already appeared to be an inevitable 777 production cut as Boeing shifts to a newer model, the 777X, in 2020, because it has failed to sell out all of the remaining production slots.
The cut grew more likely last week when the head of Delta Air Lines Inc said prices for used 777s were falling, a comment seen undercutting new plane sales.