Boeing Co’s shares rose 5% on the news that the American planemaker posted a first-quarter profit, the first in approaching two years. The company had been severely hit by two major crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and the grounding of its 737 MAX jet. As a consequence, previous plans to trim down the company’s workforce by 10,000 by the end of 2021 has been put on hold.
With the 737 MAX taking to the skies once again, Boeing has still to overcome the costly hurdle of China’s failure to approve the latest solutions to identified safety problems. China had become a major purchaser for the 737 MAX, accounting for approximately 25% of the jet’s sales. Stronger regulatory scrutiny of the delayed 777x mini-jumbo and ongoing safety problems with the 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing currently plans to reduce production of the 787 to fewer than five jets per month. Meanwhile, production rates for the 737 program have increased to 13 units per month, while 31 units per month has been targeted for the beginning of 2022, having delivered 130 units since the MAX was cleared to fly again.
Boeing’s core operating profit was US$755 million for the second quarter as opposed to a loss of US$3.32 billion in 2020. Revenue rose 44% to approximately US$17 billion. Boeing’s commercial airplanes division reported a quarterly loss of US$472 million, while its defense business generated revenue of US$958 million and its services division US$531 million. (€1.00 = US$1.18 at time of publication.)