Boeing Co.’s first-quarter earnings slid after its 737 Max aircraft was grounded globally and commercial plane orders declined.
Chicago-based Boeing said today it posted a first-quarter profit of $2.15 billion, or $3.75 a share. That was down from $2.48 billion, or $4.15.
Excluding some items, what Boeing calls “core operating earnings,” the aircraft maker had a profit of $1.99 billion, or $3.16 a share. That was a decline from $2.51 billion, or $3.64, for the same period in 2018.
Commercial airline deliveries plunged 19 percent to 149 during the first quarter compared with a year earlier. Total company revenue declined 2 percent to $22.9 billion.
Boeing 737 Max crashes in October and March spurred regulators to ground the plane, one of the company’s most important aircraft. The 737 Max was intended as an extension of Boeing’s 737 line. One aim was to hold down training costs compared with a totally new model. Boeing is working on a software fix to address issues in the crashes, which killed more than 300 people.
Boeing is “focused on safety, returning the 737 Max to service, and earning and re-earning the trust and confidence of customers, regulators and the flying public,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.
That trust may not return quickly. The New York Times, reported April 20, that a Boeing plant in South Carolina that assembles the 787 Dreamliner faces numerous quality problems. The Times reviewed documents and records and interviewed former and current workers. Boeing told the newspaper the plant is “producing the highest levels of quality in our history.”
In today’s earnings report, Boeing said it’s still assessing the financial impact of the grounding of the 737 Max. Boeing withdrew its 2019 financial forecast because of “uncertainty of the timing and conditions surrounding return to service of the 737 Max fleet.” The company didn’t specify when a new forecast will be issued.
Boeing said it’s “making steady progress” toward making 737 Max software fix and its working with regulators and airline customers.