Boeing CEO expects it to take two to three years for air travel to recover.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told shareholders Monday that air travel demand will take two or three years to recover to last year’s levels, another problem for the manufacturer that was reeling from the 737 Max grounding before the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNBC.
Air travel demand in the U.S. is about 5% of what it was a year ago and airlines have parked more than a third of the country’s fleet, while some carriers are planning to defer orders of new planes.
“We are in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment, and it is difficult to estimate when the situation will stabilize,” Calhoun said in a webcast of the company’s annual shareholders meeting. “When it does, the commercial market will be smaller, and our customers’ needs will be different.”
Cancellations are already piling up for Boeing as airlines scrap orders for dozens of 737 Max planes, the jetliner that has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed all 346 people aboard the flights.
Boeing is offering employees buyouts and other voluntary leaves but other measures haven’t been ruled out as the company tries to reduce payroll costs. It has also suspended its dividend and CEO Calhoun told shareholders on Monday that it would likely be years before it returns.