There are 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners parked on the tarmac at The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) plant near Seattle that have been rejected the airlines that placed the original orders. Normally, Boeing would just march down its order backlog and find another buyer. But these planes are special.
These 11 planes are early versions of the Dreamliner and are heavier than the model now available and also require a number of repairs in order to meet federal standards. Bloomberg cites unnamed sources who say Boeing build a “record inventory” of the planes before getting certification in 2011 and that there are “dozens of older versions” that the company has recently begun upgrading the last of the early versions.
The 11 planes that are available were originally ordered by Russia’s Transaero Airlines (4 planes), Indonesia’s PT Lion Mentari Airlines (5 planes), and RwandaAir (2 planes). Boeing is expected to sell the planes for more than 50% off the list price of $211.8 million.
PT Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airline System Bhd are among potential buyers, with Garuda now reported to be considering the 787 alongside the Airbus A350.
If Boeing can’t find buyers for the planes it will have to write them down, and even at a discounted $100 million per aircraft that’s $1.1 billion against the company’s bottom line at some point. Given the difficulties Boeing had getting the 787 in the air that’s just more embarrassment it really doesn’t need. Another potential impact is that the low-priced planes could hit margins when they are sold and unit costs could pile up, at least briefly.
Boeing’s shares are down about 0.8% in the noon hour Tuesday at $128.50 in a 52-week range of $75.14 to $144.57.