Boeing Shares Drop Amid Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner

The 777 is regarded as one of the industry's safest planes.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing were down more than two percent in Monday morning trading, the first business day after one of its aircraft disappeared over the South China Sea.

As of midday, shares of Boeing were down $3.24 to $125.31.

It's been nearly three days since a Malaysia Airlines'-branded Boeing 777-200 vanished with 239 people on board. Despite an intense, international search, authorities still have not found any wreckage of the aircraft.

There was no sign of trouble before it disappeared Friday evening, and no distress signal was sent.

The Boeing 777 is regarded as one of the industry's safest planes. The National Transportation Safety Board has logged fewer than 60 incidents involving the aircraft since mid-1997, most of them minor.

Business analysts said they don't expect the Malaysian incident to have a dramatic affect on that record unless a flaw is found to have caused a problem.

"This is the best international plane ever built yet -- it's got an impeccable track record after 20 years and over 1,200 deliveries," Richard Aboulafia, vice president for analysis with the Teal Group in Virginia, told USA TODAY. "It's typically used on international routes, and it's established a new standard for international safety."

The 777 had a nearly spotless record before the crash of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport in July. In January 2008, a British Airways 777 crash landed short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport. No one was injured.

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