Boeing seeks $60 billion in aid for aerospace sector

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An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, March 21, 2019.

Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

Boeing said Tuesday that it is supporting $60 billion in government support for the aerospace industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump earlier said his administration would support Boeing, a top U.S. defense contractor and one of the two biggest airplane makers in the world. The company has been grappling with the fallout of two fatal crashes of its 737 Max. 

“We appreciate the support of the president and the administration for the 2.5 million jobs and 17,000 suppliers that Boeing relies on to remain the number one US exporter, and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress as they consider legislation and the appropriate policies,” the company said in a statement. 

The coronavirus has devastated air travel demand, leaving airlines that had been on a plane-buying spree in recent years scrambling to cut costs. Airlines around the world including Delta, American and United are parking hundreds of planes and cutting capital expenditures, like aircraft, leaving manufacturers like Boeing and its European rival Airbus in the lurch. 

Boeing said the funds could come in the form of loan guarantees for the company and the rest of the aerospace industry, which includes companies like United Technologies, General Electric and Spirit Aerosystems.

Boeing said any liquidity provided to the company “will be used for payments to suppliers to maintain the health of the supply chain.”

U.S. airlines are seeking more than $50 billion in government aid to weather the crisis.

“The long term outlook for the industry is still strong, but until global passenger traffic resumes to normal levels, these measures are needed to manage the pressure on the aviation sector and the economy as a whole,” Boeing said.

Boeing’s stock price has plunged nearly 55% this month, closing at a four-year low of $124.14 on Tuesday. 

A spokesman said the company currently does not plan to lay off employees, make any changes to its dividend, or adjust executive salaries.

The CEOs of Southwest, JetBlue, Delta and United are either taking pay cuts or forgoing their salaries.

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