Boeing is to continue paying shareholder dividends despite its troubled 737Max aircraft remaining grounded.
The Seattle-based business, which recently lost it’s “largest aircraft manufacturer” status to Airbus, has had a torrid year after its much-heralded 737Max aircraft was grounded by regulators last March following two crashes that killed 346 people. Shares in Boeing have fallen some 30 per cent since then.
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New CEO Dave Calhoun said: “I believe we have the financial capacity and capability to do the things we need to do... but the recovery, when we get to the end and start shipping airplanes, etc, supports maintaining our dividend. And I will stay on that path unless something dramatic changes.”
Calhoun added that production of the 737Max will resume this spring, months before the regulators are expected to certify the grounded plane fit to fly again.
Wholesale changes are taking place at Boeing. The firm was reported to be planning a new mid-size aircraft, which has now been postponed.
Calhoun, who took over as CEO this month, is instead addressing Boeing’s reputational damage head-on. "We're going to start with a clean sheet of paper,” he said. He is reported to have ordered a study into the kind of aircraft the industry needs. He "has asked the team to do an assessment of the future market and what kind of airplane is needed to meet [that need], " said Boeing vice president Gordon Johndroe.
To add to Boeing’s troubled year, the first test flight for its latest airliner, the 777x – planned for this week – had to be delayed due to bad weather.