Boeing delays 2024 profit guidance and posts Q4 loss amid 737 Max issues

Boeing  (BA) – Get Free Report shares were active in early Wednesday trading after the planemaker posted another quarterly loss and declined to provide near-term profit guidance as it vowed to ‘go slow’ in addressing safety issues tied to its workhorse 737 Max jet.

Boeing shares have fallen nearly 20% since an Alaska Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland on Jan. 5 when the door plug of the 737 Max 9 suddenly blew out.

Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said the incident, which triggered the grounding of hundreds of Max 9 flights, as well as investigations by both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, left him “shaken to the bone.”

The FAA has said Boeing won’t be able to expand its current 737 Max production rate until the probes are complete and the planemaker can ensure the fleet’s ultimate safety. That rate currently is around 38 planes per month.

Related: Boeing CEO admits to mistakes in Max 9 blowout, vows transparency in probe

As a result, Calhoun said, Boeing has “much to prove” to shareholders as it tackles the various safety challenges. But he declined to provide either financial guidance or delivery forecasts for the coming year.

Boeing, which has reported only one profitable quarter over the past three years, said its adjusted core loss for the three months ended in December was 47 cents a share, narrowed from the $1.75-a-share loss it reported over the year-earlier period and better than the Wall Street consensus forecast of a 78-cent loss.

Group revenue, Boeing said, rose 10.2% from a year earlier to $22.02 billion, topping analysts’ forecasts of a $21.08 billion tally.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has been under fire from shareholders following a series of quality and safety issues that have marred the planemaker’s turnaround.

Blackstone/TheStreet Illustration/ Getty

“While we often use this time of year to share or update our financial and operational objectives, now is not the time for that,” Calhoun said. 

“We will simply focus on every next airplane while doing everything possible to support our customers, follow the lead of our regulator and ensure the highest standard of safety and quality in all that we do.”

“As we move forward, we will support our customers, work transparently with our regulator and ensure we complete all actions to earn the confidence of our stakeholders,” he added. 

Boeing shares were marked 0.3% higher in premarket trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $201 each. 

Boeing said it delivered 528 commercial planes last year, while taking in new orders of just over 1,500, The group’s overall order backlog now stands at around 5,600 planes with a market value of $520 billion.

Boeing 737 Max troubles challenge turnaround

The 737 Max 9 grounding comes just as Calhoun looks to revive the aerospace giant’s reputation and capitalize on a historic surge in aircraft demand from carriers worldwide.

That challenge found support earlier this month when Boeing won permission to resume deliveries of its 737 Max aircraft to China, the world’s biggest aircraft market, following its suspension of service in 2019 linked to fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The workhorse jet, Boeing’s most-profitable aircraft, resumed service last year, but new deliveries had been placed on hold by the civil aviation authorities as they investigated changes to the aircraft’s aviation control system software.

“Our people on the factory floor know what we must do to improve better than anyone,” Calhoun told Boeing employees in an open letter published Wednesday. “We should all seek their feedback, understand how to help and always encourage any team member who raises issues that need to be addressed.”

“We will go slow, we will not rush the system and we will take our time to do it right,” he added.

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