Aircraft maker Boeing again suffered a net loss in the third quarter as the rebound of its flagship 737 MAX was clouded by struggles around its long-haul 787 Dreamliner and Starliner space capsule.
The group, which had returned to the green in the second quarter after six consecutive quarters of losses, experienced between July and September a net loss of $ 132 million (121.2 million francs).
Its turnover stood at $ 15.13 billion over the period, up 8% but below analysts’ expectations.
“Demand for commercial aircraft continues to gain ground with large-scale vaccination campaigns (against Covid) and border restrictions starting to lift,” CEO David Calhoun said in the statement.
Boeing’s business in the coming months will depend on “the capacity of the supply chain and global trade,” he said.
Boeing continues to make progress on deliveries of the 737 MAX, grounded for twenty months after two fatal accidents before being gradually cleared to fly around the world since the end of 2020.
The manufacturer has since delivered 195 units from the factory, while the companies which had had to immobilize their 737 MAX have returned to service more than 200 aircraft of this type.
The 787, however, continues to be a source of concern for the company.
Since the discovery of the first manufacturing defects at the end of summer 2020, the group has detected new ones several times. Deliveries are suspended while inspections and modifications are being carried out, and production rates have been reduced to around two copies per month compared to five normally.
Starliner in trouble
This slowdown and the additional work to be done should generate additional “abnormal costs” of around $ 1 billion in total, estimates Boeing.
A charge of 183 million was recorded for this purpose in the third quarter.
Boeing also spent over the period a provision of 185 million dollars related to the woes of its Starliner space capsule.
A test mission of the spacecraft, which is to be used by NASA to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), had to be canceled in early August and the capsule returned to the factory for repairs.
Boeing is now targeting the “first half of 2022” to retry the test flight.
The manufacturer was able to count on the solidity of its customer service activity, whose turnover increased by 14% thanks in particular to the recovery in maintenance demand for commercial aircraft.