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Boeing Slumps On Sixth Straight Quarterly Loss, 737 MAX Delivery Pause

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said 2021 will be an "inflection point" for an aerospace industry that continues to be challenged by the COVID pandemic.

Boeing Co.  (BA) - Get The Boeing Company Report posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss Wednesday as it cautioned that the COVID pandemic continues to challenge the global aircraft market and unveiled a pause in 737 MAX deliveries linked to an electrical fault.

Boeing said its adjusted core loss for the three months ending in March was pegged at $1.53 per share, down from a profit of $1.70 per share over the same period last year and well away from the Street consensus forecast of $1.16 per share. Group revenues, Boeing said, fell 10.6% from last year to $15.2 billion, just ahead of analysts' forecasts of a $15.1 billion tally.

Global airline passenger traffic, Boeing said, won't return to 2019 levels for at least another two years, adding that airline customers continue to adjust their operations and fleet planning based on those projections.

The planemaker also said an electrical fault in certain 737 MAX, which was made public last month, has paused deliveries of the workhorse aircraft until the Federal Aviation Administration is able to determine its successful repair. Boeing said it will make up for the temporary pause "over the balance of the year."

"I am proud of the progress our global team made across our business in the first quarter as we continued to transform our enterprise, strengthen our safety processes, and sustain critical investments for our future," said CEO Dave Calhoun. "While the global pandemic continues to challenge the overall market environment, we view 2021 as a key inflection point for our industry as vaccine distribution accelerates and we work together across government and industry to help enable a robust recovery."

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"Our balanced commercial, defense, space and services portfolio continues to provide critical stability for our business – and we remain focused on safety, quality and integrity as we deliver on our customer commitments," he added.  

Boeing shares were marked 2.7% lower in early afternoon trading following the earnings release to change hands at $235.90 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 10%.

Boeing said Wednesday that its current order backlog grew to $364 billion over the quarter, adding the 737 MAX production rates will increase 'gradually' to a rate of 31 per month in the early months of next year.

Earlier this month, Boeing said it secured net new orders for the second consecutive month in March as its clients prepare for a post-pandemic rebound in global passenger traffic. 

Boeing said its net new orders for March totaled 40 new aircraft, lifting the first quarter tally to 69. Gross orders for the quarter were pegged at 282 planes, Boeing said, after shifting a total of 77 planes over the first quarter, including 7 widebody aircraft and 22 737s last month, a 55% increase from the same period last year.

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