The company reportedly spent $17 billion to $23 billion on R&D. McNerney said Boeing "has the financial strength to carry through a few years until we get to breakeven."
Boeing has an ambitious production schedule of 10 Dreamliners per month until the end of 2013, but the CEO said the company can keep to it by ramping up production at several plants.
"We’ve tried to structure ourselves for success here," he said, including opening its controversial plant in South Carolina, the subject of a dispute with the National Labor Relations Board. "We are ambitious. It's part of our DNA."
McNerney said the broader global economy and multinational companies in particular are "stronger than you read about," although Europe's financial situation is eroding confidence and the U.S. regulatory environment is "holding back the economy to a certain degree." But he thinks the U.S. can avoid a double-dip recessionbecause "business feels stronger than advertised."