Boeing says suffering USD1B hit from 737 MAX crisis

NEW YORK (AFP) – Aviation giant Boeing has suffered a USD1 billion hit to its bottom line amid the crisis over its 737 MAX aircraft, grounded worldwide after two deadly crashes, the company said on Wednesday.

In its first quarterly earnings report since entering crisis mode, Boeing also withdrew its 2019 profit forecast due to continued uncertainty about when the grounded jets will return to the skies.

Boeing has been under scrutiny since the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet, which along with an October Lion Air crash, claimed 346 lives.

Regulators grounded the plane worldwide following the second crash, a move that also forced the company to halt new deliveries of its most-ordered plane, denting revenues.

Company executives sketched out the steps needed to return the 737 MAX to service — including a fix to the flight software system implicated in the crashes — but offered no timetable.

Asked pointedly during a conference call with analysts for an explanation of what happened, the executives defended Boeing’s design and engineering practices despite negative news exposes criticising the company’s operations and commitment to safety.

“I can tell you with confidence that we understand our airplane, we understand how the design was accomplished, how the certification was accomplished and we remain fully confident in the product that we put in the field,” Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a conference call with analysts.