Boeing posts $4 billion loss tied to problems with 787 jet

Boeing is reporting a $4.16 billion loss for the fourth quarter as the financial fallout from production flaws in one of its best-selling planes keeps getting worse.

The aircraft maker took a charge of $3.5 billion to cover additional delays in delivering copies of its 787 jetliner and compensation for airlines that are still waiting to get their planes.

The company also said problems with the 787 will add $2 billion in unusual production costs, double the earlier projection.

Deliveries of new 787s were halted in May 2021 because of production flaws including gaps where panels of the carbon-composite fuselage are joined. Boeing has been unable to come up with a fix that satisfies the Federal Aviation Administration, and the company said Wednesday that work on the planes and discussions with the FAA will take longer than it had expected.

Boeing suffered a loss last year during the same three-month period of $8.44 billion when the aircraft industry was bottoming out during the pandemic.

Excluding one-time charges, Boeing would have lost $7.69 per share, which still far exceeds Wall Street expectations for a loss of 36 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Revenue was $14.16 billion, down 3% from a year ago, also sort of industry analyst expectations for $16.54 billion.

CEO David Calhoun called 2021 a rebuilding year, and said in a note to staff that Boeing is “well positioned to accelerate our progress in 2022 and beyond.”

Calhoun said the airline industry’s recovery from the pandemic has spurred demand for new planes. Boeing delivered 245 copies of its 737 Max last year following changes that Boeing made after two of the planes crashed, killing 346 people. 

The Chicago company still finished far behind European rival Airbus in delivering new planes last year, partly because of the problems with the 787.

Boeing shares rose about 1% in trading before the market opened Wednesday.

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