Boeing Reports $3.4 Billion Loss for Second Quarter as 737 Max Costs Rise

Boeing reported a $3.4 billion quarterly loss on Wednesday as costs related to its grounded 737 Max continued to rise.

The company said it recorded $15.8 billion in sales in the quarter, down 35 percent from the same time a year earlier, in large part because it has stopped delivering the Max.

Boeing also said it had taken orders for $474 billion worth of goods and services, including more than 5,500 commercial airplanes.

The figures reflected Boeing’s surprise announcement last week that it was taking a $5.6 billion charge related to the cost of compensating airlines that fly the Max, and that it was anticipating a further $1.7 billion in costs related to production slowdowns.

The company’s Max jetliners have been grounded worldwide since March, after two deadly crashes in five months.

The announcement last week was the clearest indication to date of just how much the crashes and subsequent grounding will cost the company. Boeing had already announced an expected $1 billion in costs related to production delays, and a $100 million fund for families and communities affected by those killed in the crashes.

“This is a defining moment for Boeing and we remain focused on our enduring values of safety, quality, and integrity in all that we do, as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service,” Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, said in a statement. “During these challenging times, teams across our enterprise continue to perform at a high level while delivering on commitments and capturing new opportunities driven by strong, long-term fundamentals.”

The impact of the groundings is extending well beyond Boeing. The three United States airlines that fly the Max — Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines — have canceled flights into November, and may not fly the plane again this year. They have canceled thousands of flights, depressing their revenues.

Boeing — the nation’s largest manufacturing exporter — has halted deliveries of the Max, even as it continues to produce the planes at a reduced rate. As a result, it has planes worth more than $30 billion awaiting delivery. That is contributing to a dip in recent months in American durable goods orders and in the export of commercial aircraft.

General Electric, which makes the Max engines through a partnership with Safran, is also expected to record a dip in revenues this quarter as a result of the grounding.

The Max was grounded after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March, which killed all 157 people aboard. In October, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just minutes after taking off, killing 189. In both accidents, a new automated system malfunctioned, pushing the planes into unrecoverable nose dives.

Boeing has developed a software update for the plane, and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and other global regulators to get the Max flying again. But Boeing and regulators keep finding new problems with the Max, leading to a cascading series of delays.

Last week, Boeing said it was anticipating that the Max would be cleared to fly again in the United States and some other markets by the start of the last quarter of 2019. But in practice, it could be next year before the planes are flying again.

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