Boeing silent on specific 787 profit predictions

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A top Boeing executive today told market analysts the company needs at least three more years to predict future profit margins on the 787 programme.

Boeing chief financial officer James Bell, addressing the Morgan Stanley Global Industrials Unplugged conference, assured the audience that 787s will eventually boast profit margins matching its existing twin-aisles.

But now is still too early for Boeing to forecast the point at which individual 787s become profitable, Bell says. The company will not know manufacturing cost trends until the 787 reaches full rate production of 10 per month in 2013, he adds.

"As you look out beyond 2013 we would expect this programme to start delivering good margins," Bell says.

Boeing has adopted a different production system and is using substantially different structural materials on the 787 programme. Such changes complicate Boeing's ability to predict long-term profit margins, Bell says.

"What I don't know is what this airplane will really do" after full-rate production, Bell says.