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Boeing’s Q3 To Put 787 Dreamliner, Starliner In Focus

Boeing (BA) will report third-quarter results before the market opens Wednesday. Boeing stock hit turbulence when the 737 Max was grounded and the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Now the 737 Max is back in service in the U.S. and Europe and commercial orders are picking up. But clouds still remain over its 787 Dreamliner program and its Starliner spacecraft.




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Boeing Earnings

Estimates: FactSet analysts expect a Boeing loss of 20 cents per share in Q3 vs. a loss of $1.39 per share a year ago. Revenue is seen climbing 16% to $16.37 billion.

Results: Check back before the market opens Wednesday.

Stock: Shares fell 10 cents to 212.87 on the stock market today. Boeing stock is trending lower, moving further below its key 50-day line.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Problems Multiply

Deliveries have picked up for Boeing, especially now that its 737 Max is cleared to fly in the U.S. and Europe.

For the third quarter, Boeing delivered 85 commercial aircraft. But it did not deliver any 787 Dreamliners due to mounting production problems.

In the latest issue for the 787, some titanium parts on Dreamliners built over the last three years are weaker than they should be, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

A prior issue was found in the forward pressure bulkhead at the front of the 787, involving the skin of the aircraft. The Dow Jones aviation giant expects to deliver fewer than half the Dreamliners in its inventory this year. That’s down from an earlier estimate of nearly all its completed planes.

“I don’t know if we will necessarily get a definitive timetable of when things will be approved,” said Edward Jones analyst, Jeff Windau. “But definitely looking for some more color as far as the progress with the 787.”

Cash flow will also be a main focus for analysts. Boeing reiterated in Q2 that it expects to turn cash flow positive in 2022. But delays in delivering 787 Dreamliners put that goal in jeopardy.

Along with any 787 program announcements, Windau will be looking for any updates on supply chain problems or risks Boeing faces related to rising commodity costs.

Boeing Starliner Struggles

Boeing is also facing troubles even higher in the sky. The uncrewed test flight of the Starliner won’t happen until the first half of 2022 as Boeing works to fix a technical issue with a valve in the reaction control system.

John Vollmer, the Starliner program manager, told reporters last week that a crewed flight won’t happen until at least six months later than planned. That leaves open the possibility that a crewed test flight might not happen until 2023.

Boeing is on the hook for all costs related to the Starliner’s second uncrewed launch attempt. The company has already racked up $410 million in pretax charges, anticipating costs for another flight test. As the valve problems continue, the program could record another charge in Q3.

In an unusual move, NASA has shifted some astronauts that were slated to fly on the Starliner to a SpaceX Crew Dragon mission amid the delays. SpaceX launched its uncrewed test flight in May 2020 and has launched three missions since then.

Boeing announced Monday that it was part of Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef commercial space station proposal. Boeing said that its Starliner will be used to ferry guests up to the station.

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for aviation news and more.

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