Shares in Boeing suppliers suffered sharp falls on Tuesday after the US aerospace manufacturer said it would halt production of its troubled 737 Max plane, its biggest assembly-line suspension in more than 20 years.
Boeing has 300 suppliers in the UK, where it spends £2bn a year. They include the engineering group Senior, the defence technology firm QinetiQ, and the aerospace and defence firms Meggitt and Ultra Electronics.
Senior, which makes airframe and engine components for the Max, was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 index, down 7% to 173.6p.
Boeing is the biggest customer for Senior’s aerospace division, which has been hit by a fall in revenues in recent months, partly because of the grounding of the 737 Max. Senior said last week that it may sell the business.
Shares in other UK Boeing suppliers were also down – QinetiQ fell 1.6%, Meggitt, which makes the fire detector system for the Max engine and auxiliary power unit, slipped 0.2% and Ultra Electronics, which supplies wing ice protection systems to Boeing, lost 1.1%. Melrose Industries, whose GKN business has a contract to supply windows for the passenger cabin of the 737 Max until the end of 2025, also fell more than 1%.
The French firm Safran, one of Boeing’s biggest European suppliers, fell almost 4% but the shares of Boeing’s arch-rival Airbus gained almost 2%.
Airline stocks also slid. The owner of British Airways, International Airlines Group, which signed a letter of intent to buy 200 Max jets, and Ryanair, which has ordered 135 Max planes, were both down 2%.
Boeing has temporarily suspended production of the grounded Max aircraft after the Federal Aviation Administration said last week it would not approve the plane’s return to service before 2020. More than 700 Max jets were grounded around the world after two fatal crashes that claimed 346 lives.