Boeing may have to finance more aircraft for its customers and absorb some cancellations because of the financial crisis spreading from the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said.

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Boeing may have to finance more aircraft for its customers and absorb some cancellations because of the financial crisis spreading from the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said.

“In past economic downturns like we are experiencing now, it tends to be that the risk is in the 5 to 10 percent range” to the company’s order backlog, McNerney, told reporters Wednesday after speaking at the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston. “It could be a little worse, could be better than that. We’ll have to monitor the situation to see.”

Complicating matters for the plane maker, a strike by Machinists has shut down production and may further delay the new 787 Dreamliner model. McNerney said Wednesday that talks are “at a standstill.”

About 90 percent of Boeing’s record $275 billion commercial backlog is from outside the U.S. The company has said the geographical diversity protects it from mass deferrals or cancellations, even as U.S. airlines shut down or scale back flights amid a weaker economy and record fuel prices.

Boeing has been more optimistic than larger rival Airbus, which said in July as much as 27 percent of its backlog was at risk.

Boeing stock gained 5 cents to $57.36 Wednesday. The shares have declined 43 percent since the first of three delays in the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft was announced in October.

Boeing said last week it hadn’t seen a financing threat emerge yet for customers including International Lease Finance Corp. ILFC, one of Boeing’s biggest clients with 102 planes on order, said Friday that it was borrowing $6.5 billion in emergency funding to meet obligations through the first quarter of 2009. It’s a unit of insurer American International Group, which may sell assets to repay an $85 billion Federal Reserve loan.

“ILFC was a strong company before AIG owned it, and it remained a strong business” after the purchase, McNerney said Wednesday. “Because of the fundamental strength of what they do, I’m confident they will remain strong even if they are sold by AIG.”

Most airlines get financing lined up about a year before they’re due to take delivery of planes. Boeing hasn’t had to finance planes itself in the “last several years” or this year through July, Chief Financial Officer James Bell said in July.

“Airplanes have historically been among the most attractive assets to finance,” McNerney said. “We tend to be a lender of last resort. We have seen somewhat greater requests, but actually taking us up on it, there is not any great upturn yet.”

Boeing’s plane factories have been shut down since 27,000 Machinists walked off the job Sept. 6, demanding more job security and better wages and benefits.

The pickets will start getting strike pay of $150 a week from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers as of Saturday.