Boeing was expecting to ride high on defense contracts in mid-2009 even as its 787 Dreamliner transformed air travel—but widespread problems have shadowed the firm's "dream summer," Dan Reed writes in USA Today. The Dreamliner's launch was delayed for a fifth time after structural problems were discovered, and analysts fear for the company's future as orders are canceled and defense contracts scaled down amid cutbacks and poor performance.
Boeing is still turning a profit, Reed notes, but investors are unsettled by the company's borrowing and bloated inventory. Many are losing faith in management's credibility, especially after the last-minute announcement of the Dreamliner's latest delay. The plane—dubbed the "Nightmareliner" by critics—still represents the company's best shot at future success, but it must get off the ground first, and Boeing managers don't even know if that will happen this year.