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Boeing Earnings Plunge Amid 737 Problems

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Boeing Co.’s third-quarter profit nosedived amid declining commercial aircraft deliveries as the company works to get the 737 Max back in the air.

Boeing quarterly earnings slid more than half compared with a year earlier, the company said today. The aircraft maker’s profit for the quarter totaled $1.17 billion, or $2.05 a share, compared with $2.36 billion, or $4.07 in 2018’s third quarter.

The company posted “core earnings,” which exclude some costs, of $895 million, or $1.45 a share, down from $1.89 billion, or $3.58, a year earlier

Commercial aircraft deliveries for the period plunged 67 percent to 62 planes. Revenue for the business declined 41 percent to $8.25 billion. Total Boeing revenue for the quarter fell 21 percent to almost $20 billion.

The 737 Max is one of Boeing’s most important commercial aircraft models. It has been grounded since two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

Earlier this month, a group of aviation safety experts criticized both Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration concern the development and certification of the aircraft.

Boeing Moves

What’s more, Boeing’s board of directors stripped CEO Dennis Muilenberg of his chairman title. Board member David L. Calhoun, was named non-executive chairman. This week, Boeing named Stan Deal as its new head of commercial airplanes.

In its earnings report, Boeing said it has developed software and training updates for the 737 Max. The company said it’s working with the FAA and other regulators. Boeing wants to get the 737 Max back in the air by the end of the year. Boeing makes 42 737 aircraft a month and wants to boost that to 57 by late 2020.

"Our top priority remains the safe return to service of the 737 MAX, and we're making steady progress,” Muilenberg said in a statement.

For the first nine months, Boeing posted a profit of $375 million, down 95 percent for the same period in 2018. Revenue fell 19 percent to $58.6 billion. With “core earnings,” it had a loss of $864 million.

Commercial aircraft deliveries for the period slid to 301, down from 568 a year earlier.

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