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Boeing wings clipped
- Slump forces airline-maker to prolong output cuts

New York, Oct 14 (Reuters): With the US airline industry showing no sign of pulling out of its economic nose dive, the world’s largest aircraft maker is expected to ratchet down jet production through at least 2004, a year longer than originally anticipated, the Wall Street Journal reported online Monday.

Boeing Co. has shied away from predicting how many deliveries it will make in 2004, but in recent weeks senior executives have hinted that at best, deliveries of new planes will remain flat with the level of 2003, the Journal reported. A company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

So far, Boeing says it still is on track to deliver about 380 planes this year, which would be down 28 per cent from 527 deliveries in 2001, the Journal reported.

Next year, the Chicago-based manufacturer expects to deliver from 275 to 300 aircraft, but some suppliers say they wouldn’t be surprised if that number drops to as low as 250, particularly if more airlines are forced to seek bankruptcy-court protection.

During the past year, both Boeing and Airbus have scaled back operations and delayed delivery schedules to cope with the slowdown in air travel in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

People familiar with operations at each jet maker, however, say Boeing and Airbus officials are beginning to wonder if more measures aren’t needed, the Journal reported.

Boeing’s chief executive Phil Condit is expected to give investors an update Wednesday when he releases the company’s third-quarter earnings, the Journal reported.

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