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With demand for commercial jets losing altitude, Boeing (BA) reported a $56 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2008 and said it is taking some tough steps to keep itself aloft. Will the moves pay off? It's not clear, and Boeing managers for now say they can't see well enough beyond 2009 to make a firm call. The "visibility" just isn't there from 2010 and beyond, says CEO W. James McNerney Jr.
Boeing on Jan. 28 reported surprisingly bleak results, even as its top executives forecast a modest rebound in sales this year. McNerney, citing "challenging economic times," doubled the number of jobs he plans to cut this year. Whereas Boeing on Jan. 9 said it would lop some 4,500 jobs from its commercial plane unit, McNerney hiked the figure to 10,000 on Jan. 28 and said the cuts would be spread all across Boeing's global operations, most of them in places other than the company's Seattle-area commercial-plane facilities. Such steps, amounting to a 6% trim in Boeing's workforce, are needed to preserve the company's financial strength, McNerney maintained.