Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun. Picture: SAUL LOEB / AFP
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun. Picture: SAUL LOEB / AFP

New York — Boeing’s medium-term production pipeline remains stable despite the dire state of the airline industry in the wake of coronavirus shutdowns, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

Calhoun was asked on NBC’s Today show whether he foresaw additional job cuts after the company announced last month it was trimming its headcount by 10%.

“We really do believe there’s stability in there,” Calhoun said of the company’s “medium-term” production outlook, roughly three years. The interview was taped on Monday.

After shutting down plane production in late March, Boeing has resumed manufacturing of most commercial aircraft while employing social distancing and other safety measures to combat Covid-19 outbreaks.

The airline industry has been devastated by plunging demand in the wake of government shutdown orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Most US states are beginning to lift those orders, but airlines have said it will be at least a few years before travel normalises. Despite those problems, Calhoun expressed confidence in a long-term recovery.

“Apocalyptic does actually accurately describe the moment,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think it describes the recovery, and I don’t think it describes medium or long term for [the] airline industry or aviation in general.”

Calhoun said it was “most likely” that a major US airline will go out of business.

“You know something will happen in September,” Calhoun said. “Traffic levels will not be back to 100%, they won’t even be back to 25%. Maybe by the end of the year, we approach 50%.”

AFP