| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Oct 2 Boeing Co is taking steps
to deal with possible delays in jetliner deliveries, including
its new 787 Dreamliner, caused by the federal government
shutdown that has idled thousands of U.S. aviation officials
needed to certify the planes.
The delays, if they started, would likely affect the plane
maker's newest models, such as the 787, and could affect
development of other new models such as the stretched 787-9
derivative, the company said.
Older models like the 737, which don't require significant
engineering as part of the production, are less likely to be
Boeing's statement comes as other aerospace and defense
companies are assessing their exposure to the shutdown. In cases
where plants are operated in conjunction with government, such
as the Abrams tank facility in Lima, Ohio, the furlough of
workers such as government security guards could shut the
factory, locking out the 900 private workers of General Dynamics
Boeing said the delays depend on how long the shutdown lasts
and would worsen if the budget impasse persists. It also would
affect numerous programs and products in the company's defense
"We anticipate that we'll be able to deliver some airplanes
during the shutdown," said John Dern, a spokesman at Boeing's
headquarters in Chicago.
"For models that we've delivered lots of before with the
same engineering, we have the authority, delegated to us by the
FAA" to certify, Dern added, referring to the Federal Aviation
"Newer airplanes and new configurations or those delivered
from Charleston, those could be slowed or delayed during the
The slowdown would affect Boeing's 787 factory in North
Charleston, South Carolina, because the FAA has held on to come
of its airplane certification roles at that relative new
factory, Dern said.
Boeing said it was taking steps to deal with potential
delays, but declined to be specific. "We're working on
developing and implementing contingency plans," Dern said. "I
can't get into details. There are management teams working on
this and they are keeping in touch with customers and
Investors are counting on Boeing to hit its target of up to
645 new jet deliveries this year, which would set a record for
the company, and provide a mountain of cash flow that the
company can use to buy back stock and pay dividends. Boeing's
shares have been rising this year in anticipation of the pay
back on long-range development programs.
The company's best-selling jet, the 737, is being produced
at a rate of 38 a month, and since that is the least likely to
be affected, it would cushion the blow if deliveries slow later
in the year. Boeing aims to lift the rate of 787 production to
10 a month by year end, from 7 currently, and is in flight
testing with the 787-9.
The FAA said on Wednesday it is furloughing 15,500 workers
out of 46,000 employees. The agency said that while some
aircraft certification work will continue during the shutdown,
it will be limited.