Boeing slips to huge loss in first quarter | News

Boeing has reported a loss of $641 million for the first quarter of 2020 as the aviation industry is hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The manufacturing giant reported a profit of $2.1 billion for the same three-month period last year.

Boeing reported first-quarter revenue of $16.9 billion, down 26 per cent from the near £23 billion seen last year.

The grounding of the 737 Max also added to the financial woes at the company.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our business, including airline customer demand, production continuity and supply chain stability,” said Boeing chief executive, David Calhoun.

“Our primary focus is the health and safety of our people and communities while we take tough but necessary action to navigate this unprecedented health crisis and adapt for a changed marketplace.”

In response to the crisis Boeing will cut its workforce by around ten per cent, through voluntary measures and “involuntary layoffs as necessary”.

The company had about 160,000 employees at the end of last year.

As the pandemic continues to reduce airline passenger traffic, Boeing said it had seen a significant impact on the demand for new commercial airplanes and services, with airlines delaying purchases for new jets, slowing delivery schedules and deferring elective maintenance.

In response, production levels will be cut.

Boeing said the 787 production rate will be reduced from 14 per month to ten per month in 2020, and gradually reduced to seven per month by 2022.

The 777/777X combined production rate will be reduced to three per month in 2021.

However, production rate assumptions have not changed on the 767 and 747 programs, Boeing said.

Some 50 commercial aircraft were delivered in the first three months of the year, down by two thirds from the 149 handed over to airlines in the same period of 2019.

Boeing said 737 Max aircraft production was expected to resume at low rates in 2020 as timing and conditions of return to service are better understood.

The company planned to gradually increase to 31 planes per month during 2021.

The suspension of production of the aircraft, announced earlier this year, had cost $5 billion to date, Boeing said.

“While Covid-19 is adding unprecedented pressure to our business, we remain confident in our long-term future,” said Calhoun.

“We are progressing toward the safe return to service of the 737 Max, and we are driving safety, quality and operational excellence into all that we do every day.

“Air travel has always been resilient, our portfolio of products and technology is well positioned, and we are confident we will emerge from the crisis and thrive again as a leader of our industry.”

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