Analyst ‘concerned’ about Boeing sluggishness on 777X

The signals that Boeing executives are sending on the 777X have one of the world’s most-influential aerospace analysts concerned.

Key 777 customers want the updated version to enter the market by 2019 or earlier. But Boeing’s chief executive has indicated the company won’t introduce the 777X until sometime next decade.

“That’s not the message you want to send to the market,” said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group who is one of the most-quoted in the business. He addressed about 400 people Wednesday at an aerospace conference in Lynnwood.

The only reason to tell customers Boeing won’t deliver the 777X when they want it is if “you want to see the (A350)-1000 do well,” he said.

Aboulafia took Boeing to task over the company’s unwillingness to invest in new products over the last decade. Airbus, on the other hand, has invested in research and development fairly consistently. Unfortunately for the European jet maker, it invested in the A380, he said.

Aboulafia is speaking at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance annual conference, which goes through Thursday.

A couple other comments from the analyst:

On Airbus’ A380: “Boy, the A380 seems to have faded into irrelevance.” But Boeing’s 747-8 isn’t doing that well either, he said.

On Boeing’s recent 787 woes: “In the long run, I think they’ll get it right. We’re keeping the faith, despite … what could be a difficult year.”

On the A350: Airbus is “starting to get some traction” in terms of orders.

On automatic U.S. budget cuts: “I think there’s a 15 to 20 percent chance of sequestration sticking.”

On Boeing’s KC-46 tanker and sequestration: “I think it will be OK.” The fixed price tanker contract is “really beneficial for the Air Force.”

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