(Bloomberg) -- Moody’s Ratings downgraded Boeing Co.’s credit score to one notch from junk as quality-control issues weigh on the planemaker’s free cash flow. 

The credit grader lowered the score on Boeing’s unsecured debt to Baa3 from Baa2, according to a statement Wednesday. The rating outlook is negative.

The downgrade reflects “inadequate performance” of Boeing’s commercial airplanes segment, Jonathan Root of Moody’s wrote in the report. The underperformance has prevented free cash flow generation from reaching the levels the credit grader previously anticipated, he said. 

The move comes after Boeing said it burned through $3.9 billion of cash in the first quarter and executives predicted another “sizable” use of cash in the current period. Although the first-quarter figure was less than analysts expected, it put a spotlight the financial hit imposed as the planemaker has slowed 737 Max production rates to bolster quality under tough scrutiny by US regulators since a panel blew off a 737 Max mid-flight in January.

“These events and their related consequences have prevented the increases in the 737 monthly production rate that would have driven stronger free cash flow generation,” Root said.

The spread on Boeing’s bond due May 2050 widened 5 basis points to 200 basis points as of 3 p.m. New York time, according to Trace bond trading data. Spreads on its short-term debt widened as well.

Moody’s expects that headwinds related to the segment will persist at least through 2026 and that the company’s annual free cash flow will fall short of the $4.3 billion of debt that the company has coming due in 2025 and the $8 billion coming due in 2026. Moody’s anticipates that Boeing will issue new debt to fund the shortfalls. 

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun on Wednesday reiterated the company’s goal of generating $10 billion in free cash flow by 2025 or 2026, likely later in that range, despite the challenges it faces in the near term.

“I still believe it will happen in that two-year window,” Calhoun said in a CNBC interview earlier Wednesday.

The planemaker ended the first quarter with $7.5 billion in cash and short-term securities, down from $16 billion at the start of the year. The company said it still has access to $10 billion in undrawn credit.

Boeing’s leaders said multiple times on a conference call with analysts Wednesday that maintaining its credit rating was a top priority, particularly as it pursues an acquisition of supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc.

“As we’ve said consistently, the most important thing is our investment-grade credit rating,” Chief Financial Officer Brian West said.

(Updates with context throughout.)

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