An earlier version this article cited a report that contained incorrect information on two airlines that used the 737 Max 9.
Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Turkish Airlines have all grounded their Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes after part of one such jet tore away during an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday. But despite the potential safety risks for travelers and further damage to Boeing’s
reputation, some Wall Street analysts, for now, have downplayed the financial impact for the jet maker.
In part, they pointed to the company’s status as one of two major players in aircraft production — the other being Airbus
They also cited a tighter supply of available aircraft and limited near-term impact, at least while investigators try to figure out the cause of the incident.
Those airlines and others took the action over the weekend after a panel on a jet blew out about 10 minutes into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.
No one died in the incident. But the Federal Aviation Administration ordered the temporary grounding of certain Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. The order covered 171 planes.
Shares of Boeing fell 8.2% as the stock weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Still, some Wall Street analysts on Monday said to buy the stock anyway. They said the latest difficulties with the aircraft — which follow the 2019 grounding of Max jets by many nations following two fatal crashes — were unlikely to have a big near-term financial impact.
BofA analysts, in a research note dated Sunday, said that “at this point in time, due to the duopoly nature of the industry, we do not see this impacting orders for any of the 737 MAX variants. However, if the hits to the program do keep coming … at some point, the flying public may lose confidence in the 737 MAX which could ultimately impact sales.”
The analysts said it wasn’t clear yet whether the blowout on Friday was due to an assembly mistake at Boeing, an improper installation from fuselage maker Spirit AeroSystems or oversight issues elsewhere. But they noted that the aircraft was relatively new, having been delivered on Oct. 31. And they said that “some scrutiny must be saved for regulators as well, as the FAA is ultimately responsible for certificating these aircraft before delivery.”
Spirit AeroSystems’ stock
was down 11%.
Analysts at William Blair also said they didn’t expect a big hit to Boeing’s financials.
“While the Alaska Airlines door plug accident was terrifying, we do not believe that it will have a major financial impact, unless another incident occurs after the aircraft returns to service,” they said in a note on Monday.
Analysts there estimated that over the past two months, the Max 9 made up less than one-fifth of Boeing’s total deliveries. They said those deliveries would only be “modestly impacted over the first quarter as it could take some time to determine the cause.”
Of the 23 analyst ratings on Boeing’s stock tracked by FactSet, 18 are buy ratings or the equivalent.
“This will hopefully be a situation resolved in days/weeks rather than months, but it will also serve as a reminder of how fragile airline capacity can be despite the overhang of capacity,” Shanker said in a Monday research note.
United Airlines’ stock rose 2.4% on Monday, while Alaska Air’s dipped by 0.3%.
Along with United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Turkish Airlines, Copa Airlines and Aeromexico grounded about 40 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, according to reports.
According to Deutsche Bank analysts, the affected fleet accounts for 16.1% of Alaska Airlines flights and 6.6% of United flights, although United has more 737 Max 9 aircraft than Alaska.
European regulators also grounded the 737 Max 9 for inspection.