Suppliers Mock Boeing

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Boeing (BA) insists that it 787 Dreamliner will be delivered on time next year, despite a multi-month delay in its maiden flight. Lack of parts for the new plane and assembly problems have vexed the big US airplane maker, much as they did rival Airbus over a year ago. Airbus delays cost its orders for its new planes, and many of these customers went to Boeing.

Apparently, Boeing’s suppliers are willing to say what Boeing is not. The Wall Street Journal writes: "We looked at each other and said, ‘Are they kidding?’" said a senior Boeing supplier who listened in on the conference call in which Boeing broke the news to Wall Street analysts and reporters.

Is Boeing acting responsibly toward its investors and customers? Probably not. The odds that it cannot deliver the plane on time are clearly increasing very quickly. In its analysis, The Journal adds "according to people familiar with the program, suppliers at factories in Italy, Japan and the U.S. continue to experience chronic parts shortages."

Boeing needs to come clean on what the market already know. It cannot deliver its 787 on time. If its comes close, it is no shame. If customers think they have been toyed with, Boeing starts to get a reputation like the one Airbus has. It cannot deliver products and it is not willing to admit that until it is too late for customers to change their plans.

Douglas A. McIntyre