Boeing has reported its first annual loss in more than two decades.
The US manufacturing giant made $76.6bn in revenue in 2019, but posted a full-year loss of $636 million, losing $1 billion in the fourth quarter.
In 2018, the company’s net profit was up 24 per cent year-on-year to $10.5 billion. It has not posted an annual loss since 1997.
Its B737 Max model has been grounded worldwide since March 2019 following a two fatal crashes involving the aircraft. Boeing currently expects it to be back in the air by June or July following a recertification process.
It now says costs associated with the grounding may reach more than $18 billion, up from the $8 billion it had previously estimated.
Asked about the possible rebranding of the Max, Boeing’s new CEO David Calhoun said: “I’m not going to market my way out of this. This plane will recover with the flying public when airline pilots step on it, fly it, like it, and by the way, based on all the test flights we’ve had to date, which are many, they do.”
At the same time as its Max woes, demand for Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner has waned in the face of the US-China trade war. It now plans to cut the rate of production to 10 per month in early 2021.
A new twin-engine widebody model based on the hugely successful B777 made its first test flight last week.
However development of a new mid-market aircraft to compete with the Airbus A321XLR has been delayed.