Boeing posts first annual loss since 1997

Boeing has posted its first annual loss since 1997 as the financial fallout from two deadly crashes of the 737 Max has mushroomed to more than 18 billion dollars (£13.84 billion).

The aircraft manufacturer said on Wednesday that it lost one billion dollars (£768.9 million) in the fourth quarter as revenue plunged 37% due to the grounding of the Max, which stopped new deliveries of the plane.

The icon of US manufacturing lost 636 million dollars (£489 million) for all of 2019.

The company took a pre-tax charge of 2.6 billion dollars (£2 billion) to cover more concessions to airlines that have cancelled thousands of flights without their Max jets.

Including higher estimated production costs in the years ahead, Boeing recalculated its extra expenses for the Max at 18.6 billion dollars (£14.3 billion).

The Max was grounded last March after two crashes five months apart killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The crisis has left Boeing far behind rival Airbus in sales and deliveries of new jetliners, caused lay-offs at suppliers and led to the firing of CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Boeing executives are scheduled to discuss the fourth-quarter results with analysts later on Wednesday.

It will be the first earnings call for new CEO David Calhoun, a former General Electric and Nielsen executive who has been on Boeing’s board since 2009.

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