London: Boeing Co abandoned its 2019 financial outlook, halted share buybacks and said lowered production due to the grounding of its fastest-selling 737 MAX jet after two fatal plane crashes in five months had cost it at least $1 billion so far.
The world`s largest planemaker is facing one of the biggest crises in its 103-year history following the disasters on Lion Air in Indonesia on Oct. 29 and another on Ethiopian Airlines on March 10, which together killed all 346 on board.
Chicago-based Boeing is now reckoning with a blow to its reputation and the financial cost of getting the planes back in the air. It met sharply lowered Wall Street profit estimates for the first quarter, largely due to stopping deliveries of the money-spinning 737 MAX jets and a slowdown in production.
The production dip alone has cost it $1 billion so far, the company said, because the lower rate means the planemaker has to pay more for parts, which are priced according to the volume Boeing buys.
Boeing also booked unspecified charges related to developing a software fix for an anti-stall system that Boeing has acknowledged played a role in both crashes, and pilot training.
Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told analysts on a conference call that Boeing has confidence in its software fix and expects a certification flight with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in the “near term” after completing more than 135 test and production flights.
He did not give a timeline for when the MAX would fly again commercially, saying the timing “will continue to be paced” by global regulators and airlines. He defended the company`s aircraft development process but indicated he was open to improvements.
“If there`s something that we can do to make airplane development programs or the certification process better and safer, we will pursue it,” Muilenburg said.
Reuters reported that Boeing told some 737 MAX owners it was targeting FAA approval of its software as early as the third week of May, and the ending of the grounding around mid-July, when it could resume building 52 aircraft per month.
A fuller picture of how much the grounding will cost Boeing and how it plans to repair its image with the flying public will not emerge until the end of the second-quarter as 737 production cuts did not begin until mid-April.
“Boeing had little new to provide on how exactly the 737 MAX situation is likely to pan out,” said Vertical Research Partners analyst Robert Stallard. “We think a return to flight in August is probably optimistic, but September is possible.”
Muilenburg said the company did not see any changes to the underlying certification process for its all-new 777X twin-aisle jetliner in light of the MAX crashes and said the programme remained on track for delivery in 2020. Boeing continues to work “in parallel” on plans for a potential new mid-sized airplane, although Muilenburg stressed the 737`s return was a higher priority.
He also defended his role as both CEO and chairman of Boeing after calls from some shareholders that the jobs be divided.
Boeing shares closed up 0.4 percent at $375.46. They are still down about 10 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash, wiping almost $25 billion off the company`s market value.
CBDT refutes social media rumours on ITR filing, says no change in IT return forms
New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has refuted rumours in social media regarding difficulties in filing return of income by taxpayers, stating that no change has been made in income-tax return (ITR) forms.
“No changes have been made in any of the Income-tax Return (ITR) forms including ITR-2 and ITR-3 since the notification made on April 1 2019, i.e. on the 1st day of the Assessment Year 2019-20,” CBDT said.
“It is reiterated that there are no changes in the notified ITR forms; only the utility has been updated to facilitate the taxpayers. Therefore, the assertion that numerous changes have been made in ITR-2 and ITR-3 on July 11, 2019, does not give a correct picture,” it added.
There were reports in social media that the taxpayers were facing difficulties in filing return of income in ITR-2 & ITR-3 due to large scale changes in the ITR form on July 11.
CBDT stated that the software utility for e-filing of all the ITR forms were released long back. The utility for e-filing ITR-2 and ITR-3 was released on May 2 and on May 10 respectively.
However, the software utility update is a dynamic process and is continuously taken up as per the feedback received from the users/filers to ease their experience in electronic filing of returns, it added.
CBDT further clarified that the updating of utility does not hamper filing of return as the taxpayers are allowed to file using the utility which is available at that point of time.
“For example, more than 85 lakh taxpayers have filed returns in ITR-1 till date by using the said utility, which has also undergone update later. Therefore, the impression that the taxpayers are not able to file return due to changes in ITR form is also not correct as more than 1.38 crore taxpayers have already filed their returns by using the utility released till date. Even though the utility is being updated regularly to provide ease to taxpayers, the returns filed by using the previous version of utility will continue to be valid,” it said.
Lagarde resigns as IMF chief, starting race for her successor
Washington: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde submitted her resignation from the global crisis lender, citing more clarity about her nomination to lead the European Central Bank as European legislators approved a new top bureaucrat.
Lagarde said in a statement her resignation was effective Sept 12, firing the starting gun for the IMF’s search for her successor, which is likely to be another European.
“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Lagarde said in a statement.
She said her resignation would expedite the selection for the next head of the IMF.
IMF succession is expected to be a major topic of discussion among G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Chantilly, France, near Paris amid concerns that slowing global growth and trade conflicts will pressure vulnerable economies.
Lagarde’s resignation, first reported by Reuters, came two weeks after her nomination on July 2 for the ECB’s top job. She did not immediately quit the IMF because of uncertainty over whether the new European Parliament would support her and other new EU leadership positions, sources told Reuters.
Her nomination was part of a package of top officials agreed by EU governments that included German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president, who drew Green party opposition.
Later on Tuesday, von der Leyen was approved by the European Parliament in a 383-327 vote.
The European parliament will hold a nonbinding vote on Lagarde’s appointment, which is expected to be finalized by EU leaders at a regular summit on Oct 17-18.
Centre to launch portal to help Jet Airways staff find jobs, in touch with SpiceJet and IndiGo
Mumbai: The government may not have extended support to now-defunct Jet Airways, but it has promised to facilitate employment to job-less airline staff.
The Civil Aviation Ministry is in touch with other private airlines such as SpiceJet and IndiGo to assist Jet staff get meaningful employment.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that a website would be launched listing staff of Jet Airways and help find employment in other private entities.
“We are also producing a website which is ready. I wish I had the capacity of telling you that the website is up. Every employee would be listed there and the prospects for their re-employment or employment will be facilitated by the government,” Puri said while replying to Members in the Rajya Sabha on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The Minister, however, said that government cannot assume responsibility for a business failure conducted by a private party.
Referring to Jet Airways, Puri said he was sensitive to (business) failure and willing to see what can be done within the governmental system to cushion that failure.
“But to suggest that a private sector entity goes belly up and the government has to take the responsibility I don`t think that is correct,” the Minister said.
Run out of cash, Jet Airways had suspended its entire operations on April 17. Subsequently, the government re-allocated its slots and foreign traffic rights to rival carriers. Lenders to the airline led by State Bank of India (SBI) have initiated bankruptcy proceedings against it after all attempts to rope in a buyer failed.
Before the airline suspended its operation, it had nearly 20,000 staff on its rolls. Several hundreds of them are learnt to have joined other carriers.
Replying to Members on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019, he also countered a comment that airfares had gone up.