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Boeing Returns to Profit as Plane Deliveries Surge

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Boeing Co. today reported a second-quarter profit as commercial aircraft deliveries soared compared with a year-earlier loss when COVID-19 hammered the aerospace industry.

Chicago-based Boeing posted a profit of $567 million, or $1 a share, compared with a second-quarter 2020 deficit of $2.4 billion, or $4.20. Quarterly revenue surged 44 percent to almost $17 billion.

The company said its “core” operating earnings for the quarter totaled $755 million, or 40 cents a share. That compares with a loss of $3.3 billion, or $4.79, in the year-earlier quarter. Analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv called for an adjusted quarterly loss of 83 cents a share, according to CNBC.

“We continued to make important progress in the second quarter,” CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. “While our commercial environment is improving, we’re closely monitoring COVID-19 case rates, vaccine distribution and global trade as key indicators of our industry’s stability.”

The second-quarter profit ended a streak of six quarterly deficits.

In the second quarter, Boeing delivered 79 commercial aircraft, up from 20 a year earlier. In 2020, demand for air travel plunged because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines slashed schedules and canceled orders for new planes.

Air travel has recovered over the past year with the availability of vaccines. Boeing also has gotten its 737 Max, one of the company’s most important models, back into the air in the U.S. The 737 Max had been grounded following two fatal crashes. Problems with the plane generated criticism of the company and spurred a management change that led to Calhoun becoming CEO.

Boeing made a software fix and other changes for the 737 Max. The company is trying to get the plane certified in other regions.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the 737 Max’s return to the air in November. Since then, Boeing said it has delivered more than 130 737 Max planes. The company currently is producing 16 737 Max aircraft a month with plans to increase that to 31 a month by early 2022.

Calhoun, in a letter to employees, said the company intends to main current staffing levels of about 140,000 employees. Boeing previously planned to reduce employment to about 130,000 jobs by the end of 2021.

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