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商业 - 航空和运输

2014年,波音能否飞得更高

Clay Dillow 2014年01月14日

新年伊始,波音公司在与工会的交锋中拿下一场关键的胜利,2013年总交货量也超过了竞争对手空中客车,公司股价更是创下52周新高。但是,仅仅这些短期的利好消息就能够确保波音公司在2014年继续振翅高飞吗?

    2013年11月18日,第13届迪拜国际航空展上,波音公司展出的波音777X型飞机。

    还有哪家公司能像波音(Boeing)一样能在2014年拥有这么好的开局?新年的第一周,这家位于芝加哥的飞机制造商在与工会的交锋中获得了一场关键胜利,2013年完成的交货量也超过了其欧洲竞争对手,而且,它还宣布拿下了印度廉价航空公司SpiceJet价值44亿美元的订单。后者向波音订购了42架更节能的新型737 MAX客机。公允地讲,波音称至少其中一部分订单将计入2013年的订单数,作为波音目前未完成的订单。但无论如何,这都算是很不错的新年开局。

    弗吉尼亚州费尔法克斯航空业分析公司Teal Group副总裁、分析师理查德•埃博拉非亚说:“我认为,这是波音公司发展势头极好的四个月。如果你把这种势头只局限在年初,那你就忽视了关键的线索——777X在十一月份的强势发布。所以,这是很了不起的几个月。”

    进入2014年,波音在全球商用航空领域似乎占有格外突出的优势。周一发布的数据显示,波音去年的交货量连续第二年超过了竞争对手空中客车(Airbus),共生产648架飞机,创历史记录(空中客车尚未正式公布最终数据。但有业内消息称,空中客车生产的数量超过625架,但并未达到波音的648架)。波音公司的股票也上涨至52周以来的新高。787梦想客机也度过了初期的成长痛苦期,进入成熟生产阶段。它的新型客机刚刚推出便斩获大批订单。而且埃博拉非亚补充道,推迟强行分段减支(美国政府实行的强制削减政府预算政策——译注),消除了波音公司国防业务所面临的一个严重威胁,让它躲过了一劫。

    这并不是波音公司近期躲过的唯一一次劫难。自十一月份777X上市以来,全球运营商的订单总额已超过1,000亿美元。波音777X是它主要宽体客机波音777的升级版本,效率更高。波音777是目前市场上最大的双引擎商用客机,也是这家公司的主要收入来源。然而,波音与公司机械师联盟就未来退休金福利和其他问题的争议却对波音能否在其西雅图制造中心顺利完成777X的生产构成了一定的威胁。

    上周五,这个问题终于得到解决。工会的一次关键投票对波音公司有利,保证了777X和737 MAX的生产继续在华盛顿州完成。波音737 MAX在传统单通道客机基础上进行了升级,更加高效。此次交易不仅可以保证波音利用其经验最丰富、最成熟的生产设施开发新型商用客机,也可以减少未来因劳资问题影响到737 MAX和777X交付的风险(两者分别于2017年和2020年交货)。而且,这个消息也可以让消费者(现在他们有另外一种选择——空中客车的A350 - 1000,预计于2017年投入使用)和股东安心。赢得与工会组织的一次交锋,强劲的订单,以及在2014年有利的航空市场地位,这一切都预示着波音会在新的一年所向披靡。

    Has anyone had a better start to 2014 than Boeing? One week into the new year, the Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer has won a critical labor battle, bested its European rival in total airframe deliveries for the year just completed, and announced a fresh $4.4 billion, 42-plane order for its new, fuel-efficient 737 MAX airliner from Indian budget carrier SpiceJet. To be fair, Boeing says at least part of that order is included in its 2013 order numbers and therefore is already part of its existing backlog, but still -- not a bad way to kick off the new year.

    "I think it's been a very good four-month streak," Richard Aboulafia, VP of analysis at Fairfax, Va.,-based aerospace industry analysis firm Teal Group, says of Boeing (BA). "You're burying the lead if you're confining this to just the start of the year -- November saw the very strong launch of the 777X. So it's been a fantastic few months."

    Going into 2014, Boeing looks particularly well-positioned within the global commercial aerospace industry. Numbers released Monday show that for the second year running Boeing outdelivered chief rival Airbus, producing a record 648 jetliners last year (Airbus hasn't officially released its final numbers yet, but industry sources report it produced more than 625 but less than Boeing's 648). Its stock is hovering around its 52-week high. The 787 Dreamliner is past its early growing pains and into mature production. Its new aircraft are showing strong orders right off the bat. And, Aboulafia adds, it dodged a bullet as the deferral of sequestration has eliminated a serious threat to its defense business.

    That's not the only bullet the company has dodged of late. Since the November launch of the 777X -- an updated, more efficient version of Boeing's mainstay 777 wide-body airliner, the largest twin-engine commercial jet on the market and a major profit-driver for Boeing -- carriers around the globe have booked orders totaling more than $100 billion. But a dispute with its machinists' union over future pension benefits and other issues briefly threatened Boeing's ability to competitively manufacture the 777X at its primary Seattle-area manufacturing hub.

    Last Friday, that issue was resolved when a key union vote broke in Boeing's favor, ensuring that manufacturing of both the 777X and the 737 MAX -- a more efficient revamp of Boeing's legacy single-aisle passenger jet -- will remain in Washington state. The deal ensures not only that Boeing can develop the core of its new commercial jet lineup at its most experienced and tested manufacturing facilities, but it vastly reduces the risk of labor disruptions as Boeing looks to deliver the 737 MAX and 777X in 2017 and 2020, respectively. That's reassuring to customers (who now have another option in the Airbus A350-1000, slated to enter service in 2017) and to shareholders; riding a successful labor battle, a strong order book, and a favorable aerospace marketplace into 2014, Boeing looks pretty invincible.

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