Boeing Co. today reported a record annual loss of almost $12 billion as it dealt with the 737 Max crisis and a slump in demand for air travel.
Much of the full-year loss took place in the fourth quarter. The company’s quarterly deficit totaled $8.44 billion, or $14.65 a share. That compares with a fourth-quarter 2019 loss of $1.01 billion, or $1.79. almost $12 billion.
The 737 Max, one of Boeing’s most important aircraft, was grounded for most of 2020. U.S. regulators approved the plane’s return to the air late in the year. The company is seeking regulatory approval in other regions for the 737 Max to resume flying.
The quarterly results also included $6.5 billion in pre-tax costs for Boeing’s delayed 777X wide-body jet program. The company said today it expects the first delivery of the aircraft to occur in late 2023.
Boeing’s “core” loss, a figure watched by financial analysts, was $8.38 billion, or $15.25 a share, for the quarter. That compares with $2.53 billion, or $2.33, in the year-earlier period.
Commercial aircraft deliveries fell to 59 for the quarter, down from 79 a year earlier. Boeing quarterly revenue slid 15 percent to $15.3 billion.
The 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes. Boeing was criticized in Congress for lack of quality control with the 737 Max. Then-CEO Dennis Muillenburg was forced out in December 2019, with David Calhoun, a board member, taking his place.
The COVID-19 pandemic also cut demand for air travel, reducing demand for aircraft. Airlines have canceled orders. Boeing is cutting jobs as a result.
“The deep impact of the pandemic on commercial air travel, coupled with the 737 Max grounding, challenged our results,” Calhoun said in a statement.
Boeing, he said, is focused on quality and safety “as we rebuild trust and transform our business.”
For all of 2020, Boeing reported a loss of $11.94 billion, or $20.88 a share, compared with a 2019 deficit of $636 million, or $1.12. Full-year revenue declined 24 percent to $58.2 billion. Commercial aircraft deliveries slid 59 percent for the year to 157.