Boeing Posts First Loss Since 1997 as 737 MAX Costs Reach $18 Billion

Boeing ran into its first annual loss since 1997 as costs linked to the grounded 737 MAX aircraft ballooned by $2.6 billion over the final months of the year.

Boeing  (BA) - Get Report posted a sharp fourth quarter loss Wednesday as the billions in costs linked to the ongoing delay of the ground 737 MAX hammered the planemaker's top and bottom lines. 

Boeing recorded a loss for the three months ending in December of $2.33 per share, and the first annual net loss since 1997, as revenues plunged 39.7% from last year to $17.11 billion, a figure that still missed analysts' forecasts of a $21.67 billion tally.

Boeing said MAX-related delay and grounding costs increased by $2.6 billion over the quarter, and just over $18. billion in total, while cash flow was measured at a negative $2.22 billion over the final three months of the year.

"We recognize we have a lot of work to do," said CEO David Calhoun. "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. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do." 

"Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward," he added. "Fortunately, the strength of our overall Boeing portfolio of businesses provides the financial liquidity to follow a thorough and disciplined recovery process."  

Boeing shares were marked 2.1% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $323.84 each, a move that trims its six-month decline to around 3%.