For the first time in since the financial crisis, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) will not raise prices on its commercial jets. The aircraft maker has been announcing increases in July for the past few years, including a 2.9% bump across the board in 2015.
Reuters reported on Monday night that Boeing’s July 2015 base prices would remain in effect for 2016. That means that a 787-9 still carries a list price $264.6 million and a 737-900ER still costs $101.9 million, according to the new price sheet.
But of course no one pays list price. And even with that, neither Boeing nor archrival Airbus can nail down anywhere near enough orders to meet their earlier projections. Boeing guided full year orders for all its commercial planes at 535 and total wide-body (747, 777, 787) orders at 215. To date, the company has booked 335 net orders, of which 297 are for the narrow-body 737.
Airbus raised prices on its commercial jets in January. The most expensive commercial plane on the market is the superjumbo Airbus A380-800, which has a list price of $432.6 million. The closest competitor Boeing has to that plane in terms of passenger capacity is the 747-8, which still carries a list price of $378.5 million. Both planes suffer from a lack of new orders, due mostly to their expensive four-engine design.
Among the dual-aisle, twin-engine planes that are currently being manufactured, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner competes with the Airbus A350-800 that costs $272.4 million and the A350-900 that costs $308.1 million.
Boeing is certainly not going to fool any prospective customers by maintaining its jet prices at last year’s levels. The move simply acknowledges the reality that the market is soft, orders are scarce and raising prices is without doubt an exercise in futility because no one is going to use a higher price as a negotiation starting point, much less pay the higher price.
Boeing’s stock traded down about 1.3% in the noon hour Tuesday, at $131.20 in a 52-week range of $102.10 to $150.59. The Dow was down about 0.3% at the same time.