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Monday, September 7, 1998 Published at 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK

Business: The Company File

Boeing admits it 'let clients down'

Boeing has flown into difficulties over the last year

The head of the giant US plane manufacturer Boeing has admitted that the company has let its customers down.

Boeing President Harry Stonecipher said such behaviour was "not tolerable, or acceptable".

He added: "Where we have been too arrogant, too distracted, or too self-satisfied, we are going to be much more intense and much more focused on the things that really matter."

[ image: Boeing promises to do better]
Boeing promises to do better
Boeing's recent run of problems had nothing to do with external competition from companies like its European rival, Airbus Industrie, he said at the Farnborough Air Show.

Boeing has had a bad run lately. Last month the firm lost out to Airbus on a huge order for short haul jets from British Airways.

Boeing also announced in August that it would have to cut up to 28,000 jobs.

At the same time it said it was moving some of its activities to California in an attempt to streamline production.

Production last year was hit by delays, causing the company's first full-year financial loss in 50 years.

Internal problems

The firm's problems stemmed from internal inefficiencies, Mr Stonecipher said.

Boeing has recently got rid of its commercial airplane business chief Ron Woodward, who has now been replaced by Alan Mulally.

Mr Stonecipher said the past year had been a difficult one for his company.

"It is not just that our financial performance has suffered - and the performance of our stock.

"Worse, we have shared some of our misery with our customers.

"In particular, we've let down many commercial airplane customers through late deliveries.

"Where we are too big we are going to get smaller.

"Where we have been doing too many things - in too many places - we are going to do fewer things, and just the things that we do better than anyone else."

He said the company had suffered "from a single cause over the past year," and this was not the Airbus consortium or any of its other rivals.

"It has been our own failure to execute inside. This is a company with a great past and an even greater future. All we need to do is execute," Mr Stonecipher said.

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