Global aviation will be slow to recover post-coronavirus, says Boeing CEO

The impact of coronavirus on the aircraft manufacturing industry will be felt for years, Boeing’s chief executive has said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen widespread reductions in air travel with airlines parking 2,800 jets.

Boeing was in trouble before the coronavirus outbreak with its best-selling jet, the 737 Max, grounded after two crashes killed 346 people.

Speaking to shareholders on Monday, David Calhoun said: “We are in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment, and it is difficult to estimate when the situation will stabilise.

“But when it does, the commercial market will be smaller and our customers’ needs will be different.”

The virus outbreak has added to Boeing’s troubles by causing airlines to delay or cancel plans to buy new jets.

It also caused Boeing to shut down assembly plants for several weeks, although it recently reopened in the Seattle area and announced on Monday that it will resume production in a South Carolina plant in less than a week.

Boeing is expected to apply for a share of 17 billion dollars (£13.7 billion) in low-interest loans that US Congress and the Trump administration set aside for defence companies.

Mr Calhoun said: “We know we are going to have to borrow more money in the next six months in order to get through this really difficult moment.”