Many investors didn’t trust airline stocks through the bull market. Their valuation to earnings ratios were low, even as profits rose dramatically.
But despite a history of rough patches during unforeseen events, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010 that disrupted air travel, large U.S. airline companies spent most of their free cash flow over the past 10 years on share buybacks, propping up their quarterly earnings-per-share results.
So did aerospace giant Boeing, but to a lesser extent. Now, large U.S. airlines and Boeing have requested massive aid from the federal government. Talks are ongoing, but President Trump said Tuesday that “we have to protect Boeing,” which is the largest U.S. exporter.
Boeing is sounding the alarm and pleading with Washington for a $60 billion bailout for the company and its aerospace suppliers.
The company’s stock plummeted nearly 18 percent on Wednesday amid growing worries about how the aircraft maker and defense contractor would weather a series of recent storms.
The coronavirus outbreak has devastated global travel, delivering a blow to Boeing, which was already in a fragile state after the grounding of its Max 737 jets and setbacks to fixing and delivering KC-46 military tankers for the Pentagon.