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Boeing shares fall on Dreamliner news, United 787s still flying

Updated: January 16, 2013 7:03PM

Boeing Co.’s stock sank more than four percent in trading Wednesday, after two of Japan’s airlines announced they were grounding their Dreamliner fleets, while United Airlines plans no such action.

Boeing stock fell 4.4 percent in early trading before recovering some. In late morning trading, it was down 3.3 percent at $74.40.

On Wednesday, an All Nippon Airways 787 jet made an emergency landing in Japan after a cockpit message showed battery problems and a burning smell was detected in the cockpit and the cabin, adding to a series of recent problems with the new next generation Dreamliner airplane.

United Airlines said it inspected all of its 787s and are flying them as scheduled. United has received six 787 planes and is scheduled to offer daily flights to and from Chicago to Houston through March 29.

Boeing has not had any cancellations of Boeing 787 orders due to the recent misshaps, the company.

Aaron Gellman, professor of transportation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said he doesn’t expect the problems to damage the plane’s image long term.

“We’re talking about a brand new airplane. Every new airplane has glitches,” he said. “I think the airlines will continue to have faith in it, and I think gradually the public will forget all about” the problems.

But Boeing has cause to be worried, according to Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax. Va. He told Reuters, “I think you’re nearing the tipping point where they need to regard this as a serious crisis. This is going to change people’s perception of the aircraft if they don’t act quickly.”

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