Lengthy Dreamliner 787 probe, fixing problem, may cost Boeing dear
Wall Street had been working on the assumption that safety inspectors would find the root cause of two battery incidents in the United States and Japan within weeks and Boeing would implement a speedy fix costing no more than a few hundred million dollars.
But on Thursday, the head of the US National Transportation Safety Board said it was only "early" in its investigation of a fire on a Japan Airlines Co Ltd jet in Boston on Jan. 7, while Japanese aviation authorities appear no closer to resolving a battery problem that caused an emergency landing of a domestic All Nippon Airways Co Ltd flight last week.
"Saying we are in the early stages of the investigation sent a resounding message to those who thought this was a quick fix," said Carter Leake, aerospace analyst at BB&T Capital Markets.
"If it comes out that ultimately it's a six-month issue or a nine-month issue, everything changes. All of this optimism and all of this costing assumption, starts to become bigger numbers. Once you get past six months, you have to consider cancellations."
Investors do not appear to be in a panic yet. Boeing shares are down only about 2.5 percent since the 787 was grounded worldwide following the emergency landing in Japan on Jan. 16.
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