Boeing uncertain how 737 crashes will hit profits

737 MaxImage copyright
Getty Images

Boeing has said it still does not know how the crisis over the safety of its 737 Max 8 jets will affect its profits.

In its latest set of results, Boeing said that due to the uncertainty over when the plane would be allowed to fly again, it could not forecast profits for this year.

A fall in 737 deliveries has already led to a $1bn drop in revenues.

In March a Max 8 belonging to Ethiopian Airlines crashed, killing all 157 passengers and crew.

It was the second crash involving a Max 8 jet in five months. The two disasters prompted aviation regulators round the world to ground the aircraft.

“Due to the uncertainty of the timing and conditions surrounding return to service of the 737 Max fleet, new guidance [on profits] will be issued at a future date,” Boeing said in its first quarter results.

  • Can Boeing rebuild trust in the 737 Max?
  • Pilot explains Boeing’s anti-stall system

Boeing is temporarily cutting production of the 737 airliner from 52 planes a month to 42 from mid-April.

The worldwide fleet of 737 Max planes totalled 387 aircraft at the time of the grounding.

Boeing is developing new software for the jet’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an anti-stall system which has come under scrutiny since the crashes.

It said last week it was making “steady progress” on the path to certifying a software update and has made the final test flight before a certification flight.

Boeing’s commercial aircraft division managed to offset the impact of the Max 8 groundings by increasing sales of its 787 planes. Even so the division still saw a 9% fall in revenue to $11.8bn from $12.9bn.

Boeing’s core operating earnings in the first three months of the year were 21% lower at almost $2bn, reflecting a one-third drop in deliveries of the Max 8.