October 27, 2021

By Sanjana Shivdas and Eric M. Johnson

(Reuters) -Boeing Co eked out a small adjusted profit in the third quarter, helped by a ramp-up in deliveries of its once best-selling 737 MAX jets amid a rebound in global air travel, but the company booked charges on its problem-plagued 787 and Starliner spacecraft programs.

The 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner aircraft are integral to the U.S. planemaker’s ability to recoup billions of dollars in lost sales from the pandemic and move beyond the safety scandal caused by two fatal crashes.

On the 787 widebody program, Boeing said it incurred abnormal costs of roughly $1 billion – or $183 million in the quarter – due to inspections and repairs from structural defects embedded in the jets over the last two years, confirming for the first time a price tag first reported by Reuters in February.

Boeing also booked a charge of $185 million on its long-delayed Starliner astronaut capsule it is developing under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, due to delays and repairs from stuck fuel valves that sidelined the spacecraft after its last flight attempt.

The company reported a core operating profit of $59 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $754 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose to about $15.3 billion, fueled by 737 MAX deliveries and growth in Boeing’s services unit as it sees recovery in the air travel market.

Boeing also said it was currently building nineteen 737 MAX jets per month, up from the 16 last quarter.

It also said it has been producing about two jets monthly at its South Carolina factory with plans to go back to an already slow rate of five a month at some future point.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Steve Orlofsky)

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