BOEING CHAIRMAN Frank Shrontz has warned that the group's profitability, already hit by heavy restructuring charges and depressed airliner-sales, will be damaged further as the machinists' strike drags into its fourth week.

He admits that the group now faces a "substantial" number of delivery delays over the remainder of the year.

Shrontz's comments come as the group reveals an encouraging third-quarter performance, with net profits rising by 22%, to $225 million, in spite of a continued slide in airliner sales. The improvement comes largely from lower research-and-development spending, as the 777 enters service.

Despite this better news, Boeing's net profits were only $175 million for the first nine months of the year, after it took a charge of $600 million to cover its extensive early-retirement programme.

Shrontz says that Boeing is striving for " agreement that balances the interest of employees, customers and shareholders".

Source: Flight International