Boeing shares fall amid Malaysia Airlines mystery

The search continues for any trace of the 777 aircraft that vanished this weekend. Meanwhile, hairline cracks were found in some 787 Dreamliner planes still in production.

By Forbes Digital Mar 10, 2014 2:06PM

More than two days have passed since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seemingly disappeared out of thin air, and with questions multiplying and answers growing increasingly hard to come by, shares of both the airline and the manufacturer behind the missing plane -- Boeing (BA) -- have taken hits in Monday trading.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 aircraft, lost contact with air traffic control roughly an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur a little after midnight Saturday morning local time (12pm Friday ET). Nearly three days and a few "airplane debris" false alarms later, there's virtually no new information, something that has rightly enraged the friends and family of the 239 people aboard the missing flight.

With this grave backdrop, it should come as no surprise that shares of Malaysia Airlines opened Monday trading on the Kuala Lumpur exchange with a 16 percent drop. Shares slowly stabilized throughout the day before eventually closing with a 4 percent decline.

Stateside, shares of Boeing opened about 1.5 percent lower and continued to slide. Though the Boeing 777 aircraft is one of the company's most popular and is widely hailed as having an impeccable safety record, shares of the aircraft manufacturer were not helped when news broke that hairline cracks were found in forty 787 Dreamliner jets that are still in production.

This flaw could further delay production of the 787 Dreamliner, the line that was supposed to be Boeing's crown jewel but has instead been plagued with problems. The good news is that the hairline cracks found on the works-in-progress planes have not been found in planes in use.

In a separate statement addressing the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, Boeing said on Saturday that it will "join the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board team as a technical advisor. The team is now en route to the area so they will be positioned to offer assistance." Shares of the aerospace giant were down 2.2 percent in afternoon trading.

In other, unrelated airline news, shares of American Airlines (AAL) were down 0.2 percent Monday after the airline announced that it and JetBlue (JBLU) have ended their reciprocal frequent-flier partnership. Effective immediately, customers will no longer earn miles or points when traveling on eligible routes operated by the other airline. The airlines said that any American AAdvantage miles or JetBlue TrueBlue points already accrued through this partnership will be credited to customers' accounts and will not be adversely affected.

Separately, American Airlines said that despite bad winter weather its February traffic increased 0.5 percent, with 15.1 billion revenue passenger miles for the month compared to 15 billion revenue passenger miles for the same month in 2013. The airline cancelled 28,000 flights in the first two months of 2014, a 164 percent increase over the same time last year. American said that the cancellations had a "slightly positive impact on unit revenue but had a larger negative impact on unit cost and first quarter profitability" and added that it will disclose the one-time profitability impact in early April.

JetBlue shares were off about 2 percent in afternoon trading. Year-to-date, the new American is the clear winner of the two, boasting a 53.9 percent return against JetBlue’s 5 percent gain.

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3Comments
Mar 11, 2014 9:11AM
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This doesn't matter.  The sole reason these "people" exist is to acquire wealth and power, just like the Nazis, just like EVERY REPUBLICAN in the last 50 years.  They'll just cut corners somewhere else so that their CEO and higher ups can still get their multi-million dollar bonuses.  But, they could care less about the loss of human life.
Mar 11, 2014 4:11AM
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