Boeing reported a net loss of $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Throughout the year, the financial results of the US manufacturer were affected by the pandemic, but also by the setbacks of the 737 MAX and the delays with the delivery of the 777X.
The group burned more than $4.3 billion in cash over the period, bringing cash consumption over the year 2020 to $19.7 billion. “The deep impact of the pandemic on commercial air travel, coupled with the 737 MAX grounding, challenged our results,” commented Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun. The overall order book fell 22% year on year, to $363 billion.
The 777X program was hit with a $6.5 billion pre-tax charge. The manufacturer now expects that the delivery of the first Boeing 777X (to Emirates Airlines) will be postponed to late 2023, three years later than originally anticipated. “This schedule, and the associated financial impact, reflect a number of factors, including an updated assessment of global certification requirements, the company’s latest assessment of COVID-19 impacts on market demand, and discussions with its customers with respect to aircraft delivery timing,” Boeing explained in its financial statement.
Boeing delivered 59 aircraft in the fourth quarter, putting the yearly total at 157, half as many as in 2019. The aircraft manufacturer notes that since the US Federal Aviation Administration approved its return to operations, more than 40 Boeing 737 MAX were delivered and five airlines put their MAX fleet back into service. On January 27, 2021, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency also cleared the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Europe.