Boeing strike's impact spreads as delayed deliveries impact airlines

One month after more than 26,000 Boeing ba commercial aircraft workers walked off their jobs, the strike at the world's top-selling plane maker is starting to hurt its airline customers and suppliers.

Members of Boeing's International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers walked out of factories in Washington, Oregon and Kansas on Sept. 6 after contract talks broke down over job security and pay. It's the third strike by Boeing's machinists in 13 years.

No negotiations are scheduled. Boeing says it offered the union the richest contract in the industry, including pay raises for the next three years and a richer pension plan. Union leaders disagree.

Five factories have been idle for a month, and the impact is beginning to be felt. During the third quarter, Boeing delivered only 84 planes, down from 109 in the year-ago quarter. The strike is affecting assembly of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner — already a year behind schedule — along with 737s, 777s, 767s, and 747s.

Delta Air Lines dal, the USA's No. 3 carrier, was expecting this fall to receive four long-range Boeing 777s and 737-700s, for a total of 10 new jets this year. "All I can tell you is we are expecting some delay in our deliveries," Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said.

The new 787 had been scheduled to make its first flight this fall. Minneapolis-based Northwest Airlines nwa has 18 787s on order.

Last week, Irish low-fare carrier Ryanair canceled flights on 21 routes to and from Birmingham, England, scheduled for this month because deliveries of its Boeing 737s have been delayed.

And Virgin Blue, Australia's second-largest airline, pushed back the December launch of its new route between Sydney and Los Angeles because of the strike. Boeing won't be able to deliver three 777-300s on time.

Boeing suppliers are also taking a hit. Last week, Barnes Group b, a Connecticut-based aerospace supplier, withdrew its 2008 earnings forecast because of the strike.

The machinists union represents all of Boeing airplane factory workers. In recent years, Boeing has posted record profits and a record number of plane orders, especially for its faster, lighter 787.

Boeing also outsourced more of the work than on any previous jet. This rankled its machinists, whose numbers in Washington alone have fallen from about 44,000 in 1989 to 25,000 now.

The union wants the right to bid on more work that Boeing outsources to other companies in the USA or abroad.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...