The Chinese airlines' problems, which are mounting, are becoming problems for Boeing ( BA) as well.

The three big, state-owned Chinese airlines, are all suffering from reduced demand. China Southern, the largest Chinese airline, reported a record loss in 2008. China Eastern has said it doesn't expect a profit until 2009. And Air China recently requested government financial aid, which the other two have already received.

The "threat to profitability for Chinese airlines does not bode well for their large aircraft deliveries," Macquarie Research analyst Rob Stallard said Monday, in a report. "Chinese airlines have 867 new aircraft, about 70% of the existing fleet, set to be delivered in the next five years, with the majority due in the next two years."

Of the 3,589 orders in Boeing's order book, 315 -- or 8.8% -- are from Chinese airlines, says Boeing spokesman Jim Prouix.

In a recent story, The Seattle Times noted that two freighters, "freshly painted in the colors of China Southern and worth $300 million, flew this week not to Asia, but to a jet parking lot in the Arizona desert" because the airline has not yet accepted delivery. China Southern said recently that it will save $1 billion this year by delaying aircraft deliveries. Prouix said Boeing "does not discuss any discussions we might be having with our customers about delivery schedules."

/>Meanwhile, Macquarie analyst Gary Pinge discounted the 9% to 12% increase Monday in the value of shares of Chinese carriers. The shares rose in response to a new pricing scheme, but in fact "the Chinese aviation sector has never shown pricing discipline in previous downturns and is unlikely to do so now," Pinge said.

"With only 30% of domestic routes generating profits to offset the remaining 70% of loss-making routes and overcapacity as a key market factor, pricing competition remains a real risk to profitability," he wrote.

No doubt Boeing, which is due to report earnings Wednesday, will confront multiple questions about its order book.

Boeing said 11 days ago that it will cut 777 production from seven to five airplanes a month beginning in mid-2010. It also said production cuts, along with declines in price escalation indices for its outstanding contracts, are expected to reduce first-quarter earnings by about 38 cents a share.

However, Boeing also noted that its "commercial backlog of more than 3,500 airplanes remains strong and well-diversified" and that no 767, 747 or 777 orders have been canceled this year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters now estimate earnings of 91 cents a share. That is down from $1.20 from 11 days ago. Boeing shares closed Monday at $36.48, down $1.84.

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