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Boeing is a leading manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft, rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 170,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries.

Boeing is organised into two business units: Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Supporting these units is Boeing Capital Corporation, the Shared Services Group and Boeing Engineering, Operations & Technology.

Boeing’s main commercial products are the B737, B747, B767 and B777 families of aircraft and the Boeing Business Jet. New product development efforts are focused on the B787 Dreamliner, 737Max, 777X and the B747-8. The company has nearly 12,000 commercial jetliners in service worldwide, which is roughly 75% of the world fleet.

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Chile's domestic airline market stable as Sky Airline tests the LCC model - and Paravai plans entry

25-Sep-2016 11:59 PM

Chile recorded a solid 9.7% increase in passenger growth for the first seven months of 2016, with domestic passengers growing 9% and international passenger growth reaching nearly 11%. Although Chile has not been immune to the economic degradation in Latin America, its economy is more stable than in other countries in the region.

Some changes have taken place in Chile’s domestic market during the last year – most notably the transition of the country’s second largest domestic airline Sky into a low cost carrier. As it has undertaken a change in its business model Sky’s international passenger numbers fell for the Jan-2016 to Jul-2016 time period, but the airline is adding some international markets in 2016 and 2017, upping competition with its familiar rival, LATAM Airlines Group.

Another airline aims to start operations in Chile during early 2017 with aspirations to compete with LATAM and Sky on domestic routes. Paravai Líneas Aéreas may not pose a huge threat, but its ambitions reflect a belief that perhaps Chile’s duopoly needs to be shaken up.

Alaska, jetBlue and Southwest: popular airlines show commendable balance sheet results.

20-Sep-2016 10:30 PM

The US LCCs Southwest and Alaska Air Group have arguably been two of the country’s most successful airlines measured by balance sheet achievement, compared with the historically dismal performance of the US global network airlines. American, Delta and United have all enjoyed the benefit of shedding debt obligations through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, while Southwest and Alaska have managed their debt and cash flows favourably without the help of a clean slate ushered in by bankruptcy protection.

The reward for Southwest and Alaska was attaining coveted investment-grade status from US ratings agencies, which allows those airlines access to credit at favourable interest rates. Southwest enjoys a long-standing investment-grade status and Alaska attained that ranking two years before Delta Air Lines, during a time when it was under attack from Delta at its Seattle hub. Alaska faces some headwinds generated by its planned merger with Virgin America; but for now there is little reason to doubt Alaska’s ability to maintain its balance sheet integrity during the integration.

The other large US LCC jetBlue sits at a different stage in its balance sheet evolution, but its adjusted debt-to-cap performance has significantly improved during the last couple of years. The company’s bolstered balance sheet has provided jetBlue with flexibility to pay cash for new aircraft deliveries in order to maintain an adjusted debt-to-capital ratio of 30% to 40%.

Fuel helps US low cost airline CASK performance; Southwest's labour costs have grown 17.5% y-o-y

16-Sep-2016 11:40 PM

Significantly lower fuel costs were a major driver in the outcome of the four main US low cost airlines – Southwest, jetBlue, Alaska and Virgin America – posting significantly lower unit costs year-on-year in 2015. According to CAPA’s CASK database, most of those airlines posted double-digit decreases as the average decrease in top-line fuel expense among those airlines was 31% year-on-year.

Most of those airlines should continue to record a favourable unit cost performance in 2016 as fuel costs, while rising, will remain below historic highs. Southwest, which has recently forged a new contract agreement in principle with its pilots after years of long and tense negotiations, may need to refine its current cost forecast if the deal is ratified. jetBlue has revised its cost forecast downward slightly during 2016, while Alaska on a stand-alone basis should continue to post a solid cost performance.

Over the course of the next one to two years Southwest is likely to ratify agreements with three of its major labour groups – pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. If the pay raises in the tentative pilot deal are an indication of salary increases for other work groups, Southwest is likely to find itself outside the cost boundaries of a traditional low cost airline.

Copa Airlines sees positive trends for Latin American demand. A full recovery remains distant

9-Sep-2016 9:49 PM

Panama’s Copa Airlines is joining other Latin American airlines in expressing cautious optimism that some negative trends in the region are starting to stabilise, after a tough couple of years of challenging economic conditions. Copa, in particular, believes that weakened demand is beginning to improve, driven in part by some currencies within Latin America that are strengthening against the USD.

For 2H2016 Copa is continuing to post stronger close-in bookings that began to improve in 2Q2016, which is a positive sign for airlines operating in the region. Some of the upswing in bookings stems from capacity reductions by most Latin American airlines, to right-size supply with demand. That capacity discipline should continue in 2017, since all of the region’s major airline groups have worked to defer aircraft deliveries in order to maintain a proper supply-demand balance and lower capex commitments.

Similarly to other Latin American airline groups, Copa has worked to shore up its balance sheet to withstand overall economic weakness in many of its markets. Its cash balances at the end of 2Q2016 increased from the first quarter, and its leverage was the best among some of Latin America’s publicly traded airlines.

Delta vs jetBlue: Delta's push from Boston as jetBlue mounts a Mint attack from that key base

4-Sep-2016 9:14 PM

During the last three years Delta Air Lines has been steadily expanding at Boston Logan International airport – a strategic focus city for jetBlue Airways that serves as its second largest base. Delta’s latest additions from Boston include a mix of business and leisure markets, including the highly competitive route to San Francisco.

As Boston’s largest airline, jetBlue works towards its goal of 150 daily departures from the airport, Delta has declared that it will reach 90 daily peak day departures from the airport by Jun-2017. Delta is also touting its level of first class cabin offerings from Boston as jetBlue expands its Mint premium product on routes from the airport. However, Delta’s first class offerings do not feature the same flatbed experience as Mint offers.

Delta has hinted at further expansion from jetBlue’s Boston stronghold. The scope of Delta’s plans for the airport remains unknown, but lucrative corporate markets and leisure routes with little competition appear to be Delta’s preference for the foreseeable future. Boston is not likely to become a huge battleground, but Delta aims to grow its presence in the market for the benefit of itself and its joint venture partners.

Alaska Air: the airline's network diversification continues ahead of closing Virgin America merger

1-Sep-2016 8:24 PM

During the next couple of years Alaska Air Group faces one of the most important milestones of its 84-year history with the presumed approval and closing of its merger with Virgin America, followed by the complex integration of the two companies.

Alaska has not offered capacity guidance for 2017, but its mainline fleet is projected to grow by just a single aircraft as it completes the phase-out of its Boeing 737-400 Classics. Its regional subsidiary Horizon begins deliveries of Embraer 175s in 2017, which could drive most of the group’s capacity growth for the year. But it is likely that Alaska is aiming to grow total ASMs below 2016’s increase of 8.5%.  

As it prepares to close on its acquisition of Virgin America Alaska is continuing its stand-alone network evolution that includes capitalising on loosened operating restrictions at Newark airport, which helps the company bolster its position on the US east coast. Alaska is also targeting more midwestern markets in 2017, one feature of its efforts to diversify its offerings during the last few years.

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