Boeing forecast assumes little impact from 787 problems

Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:43pm EST
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By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Wednesday it was sticking with the troubled lithium-ion battery technology that this month grounded its high-tech 787 Dreamliner, and that the grounding had no significant financial impact on its 2013 forecast.

Boeing said it will speed up production of the new plane as planned, responding to revelations that the battery has had more problems than previously disclosed.

CEO Jim McNerney said it was "business as usual" and that the company also had not advised suppliers to slow down their shipments of pieces of the 787, the most widely outsourced jet in the company's 97-year history.

"Nothing that we have learned has told us that we have made the wrong choice on the battery technology," McNerney said on a conference call with analysts and journalists.

"We feel good about the battery technology and its fit for the airplane. We have just got to get to the root cause of these incidents and we will take a look at the data as it evolves, but there is nothing that we have learned that causes us to question it at this stage."

The probe into the cause of two burnt batteries this month involves hundreds of experts from Boeing and outside the company but is "highly compartmentalized" and "it's not drawing any critical resources from any other growth programs we've got," McNerney added.

"Our plan is to continue production of the 787 and to continue the development of the wide-body airplanes," McNerney said.

The statements came as Boeing posted higher-than-expected profit.   Continued...

The Boeing logo is seen on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane in Long Beach, California March 14, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson