Pandemic air travel cuts mean demand has dropped for jetliners like the Boeing 767, displayed here at the Las Vegas Sands Convention Center, CEO David Calhoun said Monday. File photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo
April 27 (UPI) -- Air travel may not resume to pre-pandemic levels for years, and demand for jets will continue to lag, Boeing's CEO said in a shareholder call Monday. Stock prices dropped after a $4.2 billion Brazilian partnership deal fell apart.
"We are in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment, and it is difficult to estimate when the situation will stabilize," David Calhoun, Boeing CEO, said in a virtual annual shareholder meeting. "When it does, the commercial market will be smaller, and our customers' needs will be different."
It may take two-to-three years for airlines to build international flight traffic again, Calhoun added.
Chicago-based aircraft giant Boeing suffers from an added financial crunch after the global withdrawal of the company's 737 Max 8 and grounding of 737NG airliners last year for safety flaws.
Demand for U.S. air travel dropped by 95 percent during the international pandemic, Calhoun said. About two-thirds of the aircraft around the world are grounded because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Meanwhile, Calhoun said demand for new airliners has dropped for Boeing and European competitor Airbus, which means the U.S. company must cut costs.
The company in March reported that customers had canceled 150 orders for 737 jetliners. The company also planned to halve the number of 787 Dreamliners in production and announce cuts in the workforce, Bloomberg reported last week.
The company offered an April buyout to some of its 161,000 employees who agreed to leave voluntarily with a benefits package,
Boeing shares dropped 2.3 percent Monday in early trading after a $4.2 billion two-year deal with Brazil's Embraer fell apart Saturday.
Calhoun replaced CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted in December in a leadership shakeup, after trouble with a space mission and ongoing problems with the company's 737 Max.