Boeing has sold no new airline jets in January, and now the company is worried that the virus outbreak in China could hurt airplane deliveries in the first quarter.
Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said Wednesday that the company is “spending a lot of time” with Chinese airline customers, trying to help them navigate a downturn in travel.
Many nations have imposed restrictions on travel to and from China, and airlines including American, United and Delta have suspended flights there because of the outbreak.
Smith said that with the virus-caused decline in air travel, “I can certainly see that impacting … some near-term first-quarter deliveries for a lot of us.”
The executive spoke at a conference run by financial-services firm Cowen.
Ihssane Mounir, vice president of Boeing’s commercial sales and marketing, told reporters at the Singapore air show that the company’s supply chain has not yet been affected by the outbreak.
“The immediate impact is more a logistics impact,” he said. “We do have a number of deliveries ready for Chinese customers that they cannot come to Seattle to take delivery.”
Boeing reported that it received no new orders for commercial aircraft in January, more evidence of the financial damage caused by two deadly crashes and the grounding of its 737 Max. It delivered 13 planes in January, including eight larger 787 and 777 models.
European rival Airbus reported 274 net new orders, including a Spirit Airlines commitment for 100 jets that compete with the Max. Airbus delivered 31 planes in January.
At the Singapore air show this week, Boeing said sales of cargo freighters are likely to shrink over the next 14 months.