Boeing Deliveries Fall Amid Machinist Strike

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The world's number-two commercial aircraft manufacturer delivered 84 planes in the third quarter, 23 percent fewer aircraft than the same period in 2007 ... when the company was not enduring a machinists strike and its country was not experiencing serious financial concern. Boeing has not produced aircraft since Sept. 6, when 27,000 machinists walked off the job seeking a stronger health, pension and compensation plan. The company has seen record demand as airlines seek modern and more fuel-efficient aircraft and its deliveries equate to profits. At this time, Boeing has an order backlog for nearly 3,700 aircraft, which would keep the machinists busy for another seven years if they slightly improved on their recent 40 aircraft per month output. Running with substantial cash reserves and not overburdened by debt, Boeing's current condition is not yet compounded by any credit crisis, real or perceived, but its customers (and perhaps its employees) may not feel they enjoy the same luxuries.

Boeing can help insulate certain buyers through its own financing, but the fragility of the airline industry compounded by a global economic slowdown could lead to order cancellations. According to Boeing, that hasn't happened, yet, but the company acknowledges the importance of maintaining low costs and high operating efficiency amid worldwide economic uncertainty and internal unrest.