As Boeing Co. works on damage control, Wall Street’s best-case scenarios for the aircraft maker is for a relatively short 737 Max grounding, no lengthy delivery halts, and no major redesign for the plane, the best-selling commercial jet of all time.
Hundreds of Boeing BA, -1.01% Max jets around the world are grounded after a second fatal crash in less than five months involving one of the models. U.S. and Canadian aviation authorities on Wednesday grounded the planes, a day after several major aviation agencies and airlines in Europe, the Middle East and Asia did so.
Investors and analysts are still evaluating the financial implications for Boeing, assessing the importance of the plane for its bottom line, and reviewing the company’s deep cash reserves.
Boeing shares, meanwhile, took another hit on Thursday, and have lost more than 11% this week. The fallout from the crashes and grounding has wiped out nearly $27 billion of Boeing’s market capitalization.
“At this time, we see the best-case scenario for (Boeing) as a six- to eight-week grounding,” said Ken Herbert, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity.
The global groundings came after a Max 8 jetliner crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday, killing 157 people. In October, the same model was involved in a Lion Air crash that killed 189 people in Indonesia in eerily similar circumstances.
The company started working on a software upgrade soon after the first crash in October, and the upgrade is expected to be ready to go in a few weeks.
The upgrade’s installation itself is likely to be “relatively easy,” and cost a relatively paltry $500 million, Herbert said in a note.