Boeing freezes jet prices for first time in seven years as sales slow

Boeing will refrain from increasing jetliner prices for the first time since 2009 as the industry grapples with a slowdown in new plane sales.

“Boeing will continue to quote July 2015 base prices in 2016,” the company spokesman Doug Alder said.

Airlines typically negotiate steep discounts from the list prices that Boeing and rival plane maker Airbus quote publicly, leaving the list prices as largely symbolic.

Boeing has held prices steady during sales slow-downs in the past. It did not increase prices in 2001 or 2009, Mr Alder noted. Boeing and Airbus sales fell precipitously those years following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and the financial crisis.

This year, Boeing has booked new orders for 335 planes though August 23, much fewer than the 418 jetliners in the first seven months of 2015, according to company data.

Boeing list prices range from US$80.6 million for the small 737-700 to $400m for the large 777-9X.

Airbus sales have slowed to a net 323 through July this year. That compares with 1,080 in all of 2015. Airbus prices range from about $88.6m for an A319 up to $428m for the double-decker A380.

Both major plane makers have struggled to sell their big twin-aisle planes this year as low fuel prices have kept older planes flying longer.

Boeing has said it feels particular pricing pressure from Airbus, but that it will not cut prices simply to win market share.

The US plane maker said this month that it may need to cut production of its twin-aisle 777 and skip a planned production rate increase on the 787 as a result unless sales improve. Boeing also is slowing production of its 747-8 jumbo jet.

Airbus said in July that it would cut A380 production starting in 2018, citing weak demand for its largest plane.

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