CEO reportedly laments red ink incurred from Air Force One deal as Boeing posts $1.2 billion first-quarter loss
Boeing said Wednesday that it lost $1.2 billion in the first quarter as it took large write-downs and lost money in both its civilian-airplane and defense businesses.
The loss was bigger than Wall Street had forecast, and the company’s quarterly revenue also fell short of expectations. Boeing burned through $3.2 billion in cash.
“Messier quarter than any of us would have liked,” CEO David Calhoun acknowledged on CNBC.
On the company’s earnings call, Calhoun precipitated a Twitter trend when he reportedly lamented the damage wrought on the company’s finances by a 2018 deal, struck with the administration of then-President Donald Trump, to supply two replacement Air Force One jets.
Market Pulse (February 2018): Boeing reaches deal to build new Air Force One, says Trump negotiated ‘good deal’
From the archives (July 2018): Trump reportedly wants more patriotic paint job for Air Force One
Trump had called the cost of the presidential aircraft “out of control” and embarked upon a public renegotiation of the federal outlay. Calhoun alluded to the episode on Wednesday, noting that it had been “a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation.”
From the archives (December 2016): After meeting Trump, Boeing CEO says Air Force One will cost less than $4 billion
Boeing offered some optimism for improvement, however, saying that it has submitted plans to resume deliveries of its 787 airliner and it increased production and deliveries of the 737 Max passenger jet during the quarter.
Calhoun said the company was on track to generate positive cash flow over the entire year “despite the pressures on our defense and commercial development programs.”
The quarterly report brought disappointing news for Boeing shareholders on several fronts.
The company again pushed back the expected first delivery of a new version of its long-range, twin-aisle 777 passenger jet by at least a year until 2025. The move was widely expected, as Boeing adapts to certification standards that have been tightened since regulators approved the Max, then were forced to ground the planes after two deadly crashes.
The delay in expected approval for the 777-9 caused Boeing to forecast $1.5 billion in “abnormal” production costs.
Boeing took a $660 million charge for its program to build new presidential Air Force One jets, which it blamed on higher supplier costs, final technical requirements and schedule delays. It also took $367 million in charges on a military training jet.
Boeing said it submitted plans to the Federal Aviation Administration to resume deliveries of the 787 passenger jet. Those deliveries have been halted for more than a year by production issues that Boeing previously said would add about $2 billion in costs, of which $312 million was recorded in the first quarter.
Airlines are expecting a boom summer, with travelers returning in huge numbers after two years of pandemic. But some of them, like American, have trimmed summer schedules because they haven’t received the Boeing 787s that they ordered years ago.
“They have a busy summer schedule. We have already disappointed them with respect to the capacity on that summer schedule,” Calhoun said. Just when Boeing will be cleared to resume deliveries of 787s is up to the FAA, but Calhoun said “We will be back in the air sooner rather than later.”
Boeing expects to boost production of the 737 Max to 31 planes a month in the current quarter, which runs through June. That plane was grounded worldwide for nearly two years after two deadly crashes.
And Boeing took $212 million in pretax charges related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company did not immediately explain the write-down.
In a memo to employees, Calhoun said Boeing is taking steps to improve long-term performance.
“We are a long-cycle business, and the success of our efforts will be measured over years and decades, not quarters,” he said.
Boeing’s commercial-airplanes division lost $859 billion, hobbled by the inability to deliver 787 jets while Boeing tries to fix production flaws on the twin-aisle plane.
The defense business, long a bulwark against volatility in aircraft sales to airlines, lost $929 million as revenue fell 24%.
The company reported a loss attributable to shareholders of $1.22 billion, compared with a loss of $537 million a year earlier. The “core” loss was $2.75 a share on revenue of $13.99 billion. Analysts expected a loss of 25 cents per share on revenue of $16.02 billion, according to a FactSet survey.