‘Likely’ a US airline will go under from coronavirus: Boeing chief

Boeing’s chief executive said it was “most likely” that a major US airline will go out of business due to the massive damage of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry.

“It’s most likely,” Boeing CEO David Calhoun responded when an NBC journalist asked him if a major US carrier will go under.

Calhoun’s answer, released in a clip on Monday, is part of a longer interview that will be broadcast Tuesday.

“You know something will happen in September,” Calhoun said. “Traffic levels will not be back to a 100 percent, they won’t even be back to 25.”

Boeing itself is suffering as the global air transport industry is brought to its knees by travel restrictions and confinement measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“Maybe by the end of the year we approach 50 (percent), so there will definitively be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines,” Calhoun added.

Boeing has been struggling due to the restrictions, which have deprived it of clients and jeopardized its order book.

Calhoun took the company’s helm at the start of the year amid already grim circumstances: Boeing had been shaken by two major crashes involving its 747 MAX model that saw the plane rounded since March 2019.

A total of 346 passengers and crew members were killed in the Lion Air crash in October 2019 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March the following year.

The accidents revealed major flaws with the plane’s design. (AFP)