Why It Could Take Boeing Years To Get Back On Track Following Latest Starliner Delay


Boeing Co BA shares were trading down Monday after the company announced yet another delay in its Starliner program last week.

The Starliner issues are just the latest in a long list of struggles for Boeing in recent years, and BofA Securities analyst Ronald Epstein said Monday it may take Boeing longer than investors realize to fix the underlying problem with the company.

Another Starliner Delay: Boeing has had issues with the Starliner engineering dating all the way back to December 2019, when the Starliner could not complete its test flight mission. On Aug. 3 of this year, Boeing delayed its Starliner launch due to problems with propulsion system valves.

The latest launch was delayed once again for the same reason last week, and Boeing said Starliner may now not be ready by the end of 2021.

Related Link: Why Cowen Is Bullish On Boeing: '2022-24 Look Brighter'

Of course, Boeing has also had very public engineering problems with its 737 Max, which was grounded for 19 months starting back in March 2019 following two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing has also struggled with 787 production after inspectors found multiple issues, including out-of-specification skin flatness and gaps between fuselage sections.

More Than Just Bad Luck: Epstein says Boeing is dealing with something more serious than a bunch of small problems adding up.

“We are concerned it may take Boeing years to fully recover from problems that appear to be stemming from a culture of poor management, a lack of governance oversight and dis-investment in engineering,” Epstein said.

Until the company can demonstrate a shift in its culture, Epstein is staying on the sidelines when it comes to Boeing. Bank of America has a Neutral rating and $265 price target for Boeing.

Benzinga’s Take: The entire air travel industry took a huge hit during the pandemic, but Boeing clearly has its own unique set of problems. Boeing shares are up just 6.2% year-to-date in 2021, while competitor Embraer SA ERJ is up 120.4%.

Photo: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. NASA/Joel Kowsky.

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