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Boeing bears brunt of aviation crisis

Boeing has reported an unexpected fourth-quarter loss and forecast 2009 earnings well below estimates as it struggles with a dip in demand for its planes amid the downturn. The manufacturer is also still reeling from a two-month strike by its assembly workers.
Boeing, which fell behind arch rival Airbus in the race for plane orders last year, reported a quarterly loss of US$56 million, compared with a profit of US$1.03 billion for the same period a year earlier.The loss was caused by the 58-day strike by Boeing’s machinists union, cutting plane deliveries in both, along with extra costs on the delayed 747.
Airlines are adding to Boeing’s woes, with many expected to defer or cancel orders as travel demand slumps in the global recession.
Revenue fell 27 percent to US$12.7 billion, mainly because of the strike, which prevented the delivery of about 70 planes in the fourth quarter.
Boeing repeated its target to make the first 787 test flight in the second quarter of this year and first delivery in the first quarter of 2010.
However the new 747 jumbo, which is now also well behind its original schedule, will not be delivered until late 2010.