WASHINGTON: Boeing reported on Wednesday its first annual loss in 23 years as the historically bestselling 737 MAX jet stays grounded and continues to drain the company’s finances, reported Sputnik news agency.
“We recognise we have a lot of work to do,” Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said regarding the loss for 2019, Boeing’s first since 1997, which the company said came as “financial results continue to be significantly impacted by the 737 MAX grounding.”
In March of 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 737 MAX after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people on board. Investigations into the crashes revealed errors in the functioning of the jets’ piloting system, lapses in Boeing’s safety standard procedures and cover-ups by company officials later.
Boeing, which reported a US$1 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, disclosed US$9.2 billion in additional 737 MAX-related costs.
The company said its revenues tumbled by 36.8 per cent to US$17.9 billion in the fourth quarter, although for the year, the decline was less, at 24.3 per cent to US$7.6 billion.
Calhoun, who came into his job after his predecessor resigned in December, said Boeing would do whatever is necessary to redeem the faith of investors and the public while working to get the 737 MAX up again.
“Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward,” Calhoun said.
Boeing has about 400 completed 737 MAX jets parked in Washington and Texas waiting to be delivered to airlines around the world. The FAA has not indicated when it would let the planes fly again, prompting Boeing to stop further production of the aircraft for now.
Southwest Airlines said earlier this month that it has dropped the 737 MAX from its flight schedule until June.