Boeing sales flounder as coronavirus batters airline customers

Boeing 737 Max is still months away from flying

Fox Business Briefs: The FAA might wait until early November before recertifying the plane again, says the Wall Street Journal.

Boeing lost almost twice as much as Wall Street projected in late spring as its airline customers reeled from the coronavirus pandemic and the beleaguered planemaker fought to return its best-selling 737 MAX to commercial flights while delaying an upgrade to the larger 777.

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The Chicago-based company's loss of $4.79 a share in the three months through June compared with an average estimate of $2.54 from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Sales slid 25 percent to $11.8 billion.


“We remained focused on the health of our employees and communities while proactively taking action to navigate the unprecedented commercial market impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO David Calhoun, who took over in January following the departure of Dennis Muilenburg, said in a statement. “Our government services, defense and space programs provide some critical stability for us in the near-term as we take tough but necessary steps to adapt for new market realities."

Sales in the commercial airplanes business, Boeing's largest, sank 65 percent to $1.8 billion as the planemaker delivered just 20 aircraft, less than a quarter of the total a year earlier.

Calhoun plans to delay the new 777X by as much as a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported last week, citing people it didn't identify.

While Boeing resumed production of the 737 MAX, the jet grounded in 2019 after two overseas crashes that killed everyone on board, the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to approve the plane's return to commercial service.


And even if the airliner could be flown, demand is uncertain at best as U.S. carriers grapple with a precipitous drop in travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The disease, for which no vaccine is yet available, has infected 16.8 million people worldwide and killed nearly 150,000 in the U.S., prompting stay-at-home orders and temporary business closures in regions around the country.

Revenue in Boeing's defense division was little changed from last year, at $6.59 billion, as the company won orders from the Navy for three MQ-25 refueling drones and completed first flight and delivery for the third bloc of the service's F/A-18 Super Hornet.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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