Boeing does not see immediate need to raise cash with new debt

FILE PHOTO: Signage of The Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Ducey/File Photo

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N does not see the need to add to liquidity through additional debt offerings to manage the downturn in global aviation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, chief financial officer Greg Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith also told a conference that “priority one” for Boeing would be paying down its debt and getting its balance sheet back in order when the industry recovers.

Boeing shares were up 4.3%.

Despite the pandemic decimating air travel, adding to the fallout from a 16-month-old crisis over the 737 MAX grounding after fatal crashes, Smith said the U.S. planemaker was still focused on future investments including new jet development.

“We haven’t lost sight of it,” Smith said. “We’ll make the right investments at the right time to maintain a competitive advantage.”

Engineers for example were reassessing the product development strategy while building on completed analysis for a now-scrapped mid-market airplane and future production system, Smith said.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Chris Reese and Nick Zieminski