Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Owing to a multi-billion-dollar bill over the grounding of its 737 Max fleet, U.S. aviation giant Boeing on Wednesday reported its first annual loss in nearly a quarter-century.
In its fourth-quarter earnings report, the company said it sustained a $2.33 per-share loss in the last quarter of 2019 and revenue fell 37 percent to $17.9 billion. For the year, Boeing reported a loss of $3.47 per share -- or $636 million -- and said the costs stemming from the 737 Max's troubles are approaching $19 billion.
The annual loss is Boeing's first since 1997. The company posted a $10.5 billion profit in 2018 before two crashes overseas forced it to pull the airliner from service. Earlier this month, Boeing suspended production of the 737 Max.
"We recognize we have a lot of work to do," new Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. "We are focused on returning the 737 Max to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public."
The planemaker has absorbed billions of dollars in fiscal hits since the 737 Max fleet was grounded worldwide last March. For nearly a year, it has been working on a fix to the model's automated flight software but has yet to make the repairs and secure final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do," Calhoun added. "Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward. Fortunately, the strength of our overall Boeing portfolio of businesses provides the financial liquidity to follow a thorough and disciplined recovery process."
The three U.S. carriers who fly the 737 Max -- American, Southwest and United -- have all removed the model from their flight schedules until at least mid-2020.
Calhoun replaced former chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg in December. Muilenburg gave up his chairman title last October to focus on trouble with the 737 Max but problems getting the airplane back in the air persisted.