Boeing’s results for the first quarter of 2021 have been released today, and the picture is one of slow but steady improvement. The loss was over half a billion, but was less than the same quarter in 2020. With the MAX approved to fly in many jurisdictions, Boeing’s deliveries accelerated by 54% to a total of 77 aircraft across the quarter.
Smaller losses, steady revenue
Boeing’s first quarter results are out and there’s definitely some improvement starting to show. Although its total revenue was down 10% over Q1 2020, it still brought in $15.2 billion in the first three months of the year. The company attributed this to the lower 787 deliveries, although noted it was offset by the successful uptick in 737 deliveries.
Overall, Boeing recorded a net loss of $561 million, a smidge better than its loss in 2020. Q1 last year saw a loss of $641 million. Today’s loss is a shadow of the huge loss posted in Q4 2020, which saw Boeing fall to more than negative $8 billion, and $12 billion over the year.
Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun commented,
“I am proud of the progress our global team made across our business in the first quarter as we continued to transform our enterprise, strengthen our safety processes, and sustain critical investments for our future.
“While the global pandemic continues to challenge the overall market environment, we view 2021 as a key inflection point for our industry as vaccine distribution accelerates and we work together across government and industry to help enable a robust recovery.
“Our balanced commercial, defense, space and services portfolio continues to provide critical stability for our business – and we remain focused on safety, quality and integrity as we deliver on our customer commitments.”
On the positive side, the company notes that it has increased its revolving credit facility by more than $5 billion in the quarter, to a total of $14.8 billion. This facility remains undrawn. The planemaker also secured orders in the quarter for both the MAX, for 148 aircraft, and for four 747F from Atlas Air.
Deliveries up, spurred by the MAX
Commercial aircraft deliveries were up 54% in the quarter, with 77 aircraft delivered. That compares to just 50 in the same quarter last year. Boeing said that, since the FAA ungrounded the MAX, a total of 85 of its latest generation 737s have been delivered to customers. A total of 31 airlines have returned their fleet to service.
With a backlog still to clear, the manufacturer plans to continue producing the MAX at a relatively low rate through 2021. However, it says that, in early 2022, it plans to increase its output rate to 31 planes per month, with further increases going forward in line with market demand.
As well as the MAX, the planemaker has successfully resumed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner. Just two Dreamliners were delivered to customers during the quarter, along with six 777s, five 767s, and just one 747. The 737 MAX made up the bulk of the quarter’s deliveries, with 63 aircraft arriving with customers.
In terms of its backlog, the order book at Boeing remains relatively stable. In Q1 of 2020, it stood at $281 billion of aircraft orders; this quarter closed with $282 billion in the backlog.