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For the first time since 2019, Boeing knocks out a profit

UPDATED: Thu., July 29, 2021

A line of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jets are parked in Everett, Washington, on April 21. Boeing delivered 79 commercial planes during the second quarter of the year.  (Associated Press)
A line of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jets are parked in Everett, Washington, on April 21. Boeing delivered 79 commercial planes during the second quarter of the year. (Associated Press)
From staff and wire reports Associated Press

Boeing reported its first quarterly profit since 2019 and revenue topped expectations as the giant aircraft maker tries to dig out from the most difficult stretch in its history.

Boeing earned $567 million in the second quarter, compared with a $2.4 billion loss a year ago.

Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium Chair Mark Norton said Boeing’s quarterly earnings increase signals a potential rebound for the aerospace industry in the Spokane area.

Some aerospace manufacturers in the region — which saw a 20 to 40% decline in employment and revenues as a result of coronavirus-related supply chain and travel restrictions — are now reporting they are busier than ever, he said.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in activity across the entire aerospace industry that is also helped by the space and drone industry really picking up steam,” he said.

However, aerospace manufacturing and contract companies are grappling with finding workers to keep up with an increase in demand, said Norton, who is also senior business development manager at AccraFab, a Liberty Lake-based precision sheet metal and contract manufacturing company.

“It’s all great news, but we just need to be able to find workers,” he said. 

Industry analysts had expected a sizeable loss and shares of Boeing Co. jumped almost 5% at the opening bell Wednesday.

The return of the troubled 737 Max jet after two deadly crashes is key to Boeing’s rebound.

The company delivered 79 commercial planes in the quarter, compared with 20 a year earlier.

Deliveries are an important source of cash because that’s when airlines usually pay the bulk of the price for a new plane.

Still, Boeing’s core commercial-planes business lost money. That was offset, however, by profits in Boeing’s defense and space unit and its services division.

Boeing cut thousands of jobs over the past year and a half as it dealt with the grounding of its 737 Max airliner and the pandemic, which cut airlines’ demand for new planes.

Boeing planned to reduce the workforce to 130,000 from 161,000 at the end of 2019.

However, CEO David Calhoun said in a memo to employees Wednesday that the company now plans to stop cutting and keep jobs at the current level of about 140,000.

Calhoun cited “encouraging recovery trends” in demand for airline jets and its defense business.

The Chicago company said the adjusted core profit, which excludes certain unusual items, was a surprising 40 cents per share.

Wall Street had been projecting a per-share loss of 65 cents, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue was $17 billion, which eclipsed analysts’ forecast of $16.6 billion, according to a survey by FactSet.

Boeing is struggling to recover from the grounding of the Max, which lasted from March 2019 until late last year, and then the pandemic.

The company has been boosted by big orders in recent months — most notably, United Airlines ordered 200 Max jets.

The company is also trying to fix production problems on the 787 jet, which is a two-aisle plane popular for longer flights. The company has cut the production rate for new 787s to deal with flaws in the fuselage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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