The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max pummeled the airliner maker’s finances in 2019 as the company reported its first full-year loss in more than two decades.
For all of 2019, Boeing posted a loss of $636 million after turning a profit of $10.5 billion in 2018, primarily due to the 737 Max’s grounding following two deadly crashes.
For the fourth quarter, Boeing reported a net loss of $1 billion after recording a profit of $3.4 billion a year earlier.
It’s the company’s first full-year loss since 1997, according to financial database FactSet.
Boeing said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter revenue plunged 37% to $17.9 billion, while its full-year revenue fell 24% to $76.6 billion.
The company recorded a $2.6 billion charge for “estimated potential concessions and other considerations to customers related to the 737 Max grounding. It also reported an additional $2.6 billion in unexpected costs related to 737 airliner production and delivery.
Boeing also warned that the suspension of 737 Max production would introduce “abnormal production costs” of about $4 billion in the future, largely in 2020.
“We recognize we have a lot of work to do,” the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun, said in a statement. “We are focused on returning the 737 Max to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public.”
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Boeing said last week that the 737 Max isn’t expected to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to return to the skies until at least the summer.
“We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do,” Calhoun said. “Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward. Fortunately, the strength of our overall Boeing portfolio of businesses provides the financial liquidity to follow a thorough and disciplined recovery process.”
Even after the grounding order is lifted, upgrading the planes and retraining crews could effectively keep the 737 Max out of service through the summer, the season in which planes are filled with vacationing families.
The 737 Max was grounded after the crashes of two jets – a Lion Air flight in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019. The two incidents involving the Max, the latest version of the jet that has flown since the 1960s, killed a total of 346 passengers and crew.
Contributing: Chris Woodyard
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.