For the first time in seven years, Boeing isn’t raising airplane prices as it contends with demand cooled by economic uncertainty and a glut of twin-aisle aircraft.
Boeing skipped raising airplane prices for the first time in seven years as it contends with demand cooled by economic uncertainty, cheap oil and a glut of twin-aisle aircraft.
The U.S. plane maker typically adjusts its catalog prices for commercial aircraft once a year to reflect an internal formula that takes into account increases in the cost of goods, services and labor.
Boeing boosted prices 2.9 percent last year and 3.1 percent in 2014.
While final sales usually are heavily discounted, Boeing’s decision to hold the published prices steady for the first time since the Great Recession signals changing market dynamics to customers and suppliers, said aerospace consultant Richard Aboulafia.
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Plane makers have seen demand clipped by the Brexit vote, a commodities-market crash in Latin America and moderating oil prices, which have encouraged carriers to hold on to older models they might have otherwise retired.
“The industry is a poster child for deflation at this point,” Aboulafia said Monday. “You can deny that when times are good but when times are clearly past their peak there’s really no point in pretending.”
The prices posted in July 2015 will continue to serve as a basis for customer discussions, Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said via email. They range from $80.6 million for Boeing’s smallest narrowbody aircraft, the 737-700, to $400 million for the 777-9, the first twin-engine plane designed to haul more than 400 travelers.
Boeing didn’t update prices in 2001 or 2009, Alder said.
Boeing landed 335 net orders this year as of Aug. 23, while rival Airbus Group logged 323 net sales through the end of July.
For both plane makers, sales activity has dropped off from the large order hauls they enjoyed earlier this decade as part of an unprecedented aerospace updraft.
Under new Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing has been girding for leaner times by trimming payroll and seeking concessions from suppliers. Keeping prices unchanged underscores the importance of those efforts, Aboulafia said.
“If you are getting super-tough with your suppliers, this is an important message to send,” he said. “The alternative would weaken your position.”