Boeing CEO Says Downturn An 'Aberration'

Boeing's chief executive said on Monday that the current economic slump was an "aberration" that the plane maker would overcome.

"I believe the current downturn is an aberration, a once-in-a-lifetime storm," Chairman and CEO James McNerney told Boeing shareholders at the company's annual meeting. "I believe Boeing is well-equipped to weather this storm."

The CEO also said Boeing was "on track to fly" its 787 Dreamliner this quarter. Assembly of the long-range Dreamliner has been delayed by design changes, parts shortages and substandard work by contractors.

Last week, Boeing said its quarterly profit fell because of order deferrals by cash-strapped airlines, and the manufacturer lowered its full-year earnings outlook.

Earlier this month, the company said it could cut production of its 777 jet to five per month from seven in June 2010, and analysts have cited the potential for more output curbs.

"We have to run the place tight from a cash viewpoint," added McNerney, who spent more than four years at the helm of 3M and 19 years at General Electric before arriving at Boeing.

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