Boeing lost $149 million last quarter as the plane maker pushes ahead with production increases

FILE- In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. The Boeing Company reports earnings on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) (Elaine Thompson, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Boeing flipped to a $149 million loss in the second quarter despite higher revenue, as the plane maker struggled with higher costs in both its airline and defense business.

The company beat Wall Street expectations for profit, revenue and free cash flow and said it is beginning to increase production of its two most popular airline planes.

The shares jumped 8.7% on Wednesday — the biggest one-day percentage gain in more than a year.

European rival Airbus reported a second-quarter profit and also said it was making progress to raise production of its best-selling plane. Airbus said a new problem with Pratt & Whitney engines will not affect its assembly lines.

Boeing plans to raise production of the 737 Max from 31 to 38 planes a month and boost output of the larger, two-aisle 787 Dreamliner from four to five per month by year end.

The world's two leading aircraft manufacturers are benefitting as travel recovers from the pandemic and airlines place huge orders for newer, more fuel-efficient planes.

“We have more work ahead to improve performance, but our progress is clear and we’re confident in our path forward.” CEO David Calhoun said in a memo to employees. He said the company was improving the stability of operations in its factories and among suppliers.

Boeing, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, has been beset by supply-chain problems that continued during the second quarter, including a temporary delay in 737 deliveries because of fittings on the Max and regulators’ questions about Dreamliner inspections.

Boeing said the commercial-planes division was weighed down by “abnormal costs,” which it did not detail. Cai von Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen, said those were likely the result of fixing issues with fuel tanks on the Boeing 767 and fuselage fittings on the Dreamliner.

The defense and space business also performed worse than analysts expected. Von Rumohr called it “disappointingly still in the red," partly due to write-downs on several programs.

The company recorded charges of $257 million related to a delay in launches of its Starliner reusable space vehicle, $189 million for higher than expected production costs for a military training jet, and $68 million for delays in a defense refueling drone.

Boeing's loss compared with net income of $160 million a year earlier and, excluding unusual items, amounted to 82 cents per share. Analysts expected a loss of 89 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Revenue rose 18% to $19.75 billion, more than the $18.59 billion that analysts expected. Sales were boosted by an increase in delivery of commercial planes to airlines and lessors.

Airbus said net income attributable to shareholders were 1.06 billion euros ($1.17 billion) in the quarter, or 1.34 euros ($1.48) per share. Revenue was 15.9 billion euros ($17.6 billion) .

Analysts expected 1.55 euros per share on revenue of 15.85 billion euros, according to FactSet.

Like Boeing, Airbus said it was making progress toward raising production of its A320neo-family of jets – they compete with the Max -- to 75 jets a month in 2026.

However this week, it was revealed that hundreds of Airbus passenger jets will need to have their engines removed and inspected in the coming months after engine maker Pratt & Whitney discovered a problem with powder metal used in making parts for 1,200 engines.

Nearly 800 A320 and A321s have the affected Pratt engines, according to aviation-data firm Cirium. Indian low-cost airline IndiGo has nearly 140. Among U.S. carriers, Spirit Airlines has 34 of the planes, Hawaiian Airlines 18 and JetBlue Airways 16.

Pratt parent RTX Corp. said this week that the issue does not affect new engines, and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said Wednesday that Pratt has confirmed it can meet Airbus' demand for engines despite the inspections of hundreds of ones already in use.

Shares of Boeing Co. rose $18.68, its biggest nominal one-day gain since November 2020, to close at $232.80.