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Boeing CEO: Discussions between Airbus, Bombardier 'don't change our plans'

  • Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said no strategy change was necessary despite discussions between two rivals: Airbus and Bombardier.
  • Last week, Airbus announced a partnership with Bombardier on the C Series, a narrow-body aircraft that competes with Boeing's 737.
  • Boeing has been in a trade spat with Canada's Bombardier, which the U.S. manufacturer has charged benefits from "unfair" government subsidies.
  • Muilenburg said Boeing welcomes competition, adding he's "confident we can win, but it's important that everybody plays by the same rules."
Employees on a platform next to a Boeing 737 MAX 9 jetliner at the company's manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington.
David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employees on a platform next to a Boeing 737 MAX 9 jetliner at the company's manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington.

Boeing's CEO on Wednesday expressed confidence in the planemaker's strategy and said the Airbus-Bombardier partnership won't change the company's game plan.

Last week, Europe's Airbus announced a partnership with Canada's Bombardier on the C Series, a narrow-body aircraft that competes with Boeing's 737.

"Recent changes in the marketplace, the discussions between Airbus and Bombardier, don't change our plans," Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said during a conference call after the company announced third-quarter results.

According to the CEO, Boeing has "a strong strategy in place. We'll continue to look at our strategic alternatives."

Muilenburg said the narrow-body market is "an attractive market with a lot of global competitors. We like competition. It makes us better. We are confident we can win, but it's important that everybody plays by the same rules."

Boeing has accused the Canadian manufacturer of benefiting from "unfair" government subsidies. Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier's C Series planes.

"We're going to continue to invest to win in the narrow-body marketplace," Muilenburg said. "We have lots of growth opportunity both top and bottom line in our core narrow-body business. We have a number of customers who operate 737s today who still have not made their next-generation selection [to the MAX].

At the same time, the CEO said Boeing will "continue to look at ways to accelerate our core business, grow organically as our primary growth engine."

Muilenburg also said Boeing has "clear priorities on usage of cash. Our first use of cash is invested organically, secondly returning values our shareholders — roughly 100 percent free cash flow. And then thirdly, mergers, acquisitions, partnerships that complement our organic strategy. We are going to continue down that path."