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Boeing reports record $11.9 billion loss in 2020 amid pandemic, 737 MAX struggles

The factory where Boeing manufactures is 737 MAX airplane in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Most people were expecting a dismal 2020 earnings report from Boeing, but few were expecting such a huge loss.

Nearly $12 billion. Let that sink in for a minute: Boeing recorded an $11.9 billion loss for 2020, a record for the company in a single year.

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It’s not hard to see why. A global pandemic basically eliminated demand for flights. That then snowballed into airlines not needing new airplanes. The 22-month grounding of the 737 MAX after two deadly crashes only made matters worse.

And because of issues in getting the 737 MAX recertified, the company’s 777X jet — currently delayed to 2023 — will likely face a lengthy road toward its own certification from regulators. Despite that, the company noted that it remains “confident” in the 777X.

Revenues for the year were just $58 billion, down 24% over 2019, which wasn’t a good year for Boeing either. The company only delivered 157 commercial airplanes for the year, a number not seen since the 1970s.

To put this in perspective, let’s go back to the 2018 earnings report, just two years ago: Boeing made a record $101 billion that year, and delivered a record 806 commercial airplanes.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun sent a letter to employees after the report came out thanking them for their hard work in such difficult times, and telling them that Boeing will keep working to transform the company going forward to meet the changing demand in the aviation industry.

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