Boeing CEO: We Win Some, We Lose Some

Tickers in this article: BA

CHICAGO (TheStreet) -- Boeing is sorry it recently lost a major Japan Airlines order, but CEO Jim McNerney said a Lufthansa order offsets the pain.

During Boeing's earnings call on Wednesday, McNerney responded to a reporter's question concerning JAL's decision to order the Airbus A350. "Obviously that's a campaign that we did not want to lose," McNerney said. "We fought hard. Airbus fought hard. ... This is a customer that we've served for many, many years and we will continue to serve for many, many more."

He added: "I'd note during the time of this loss that we made some major progress in Europe with Lufthansa with the 777X, which in the minds of some is an analogous situation."

JAL is a long-time Boeing customer while Lufthansa has been the biggest customer for Airbus jets.

JAL said three weeks ago that it would order 31 A350s, marking the first time it has bought Airbus jets. JAL and All Nippon Airways were the earliest customers for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in recognition of the importance of Japanese partners in the production of Boeing jets. Last month, Lufthansa became the launch customer for Boeing's new 777-9x, a new, 400-seat plane that will be delivered around the end of the decade. Lufthansa said it would order 34 jets, as well as 25 A350-900 jets.

At the time, Richard Aboulafia, aviation consultant for the Teal Group, said that "Boeing had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a launch decision" just as it was when American ordered the first 737 MAX in 2011 before final design was completed. He said Boeing "takes the most passive approach" to selling aircraft, letting airlines make key decisions on timing.

On Wednesday, McNerney said Boeing would "redouble our efforts" with JAL following the lost order.

"We'll take it as a sign to do better and work harder with one of our great customers," he said.

Shortly after the opening bell on Thursday, Boeing shares were up 40 cents to $129.42. Year to date, the shares are up 71%, making Boeing the leading stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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