boeing
© Boeing
Boeing on Wednesday reported its first annual loss in more than two decades as costs from the 737 Max crashes rise sharply.

Boeing said it lost $636 million in 2019, marking the company's first annual loss since 1997. That's in stark contrast to the $10.46 billion profit it posted in 2018 — before a second crash grounded its best-selling planes worldwide.

The stock price gained nearly 3% in early trading.

The manufacturer this month suspended production of the planes, which regulators grounded in March after the second of two Max crashes that killed 346 people.

In its earnings statement, Boeing reported a loss of $2.33 per share for the fourth quarter. Revenue in the last three months of the year dropped 37% to $17.91 billion from $28.34 billion in the year-earlier period.

The debacle's costs to Boeing are rising to more than $18 billion, the company said, roughly double what it outlined in the previous quarter. That amount includes an additional $2.6 billion pretax charge to compensate airlines and other 737 Max customers because of the grounding. Boeing had taken a $5.6 billion pretax charge in the second quarter to compensate its customers.

The company recently reported its worst annual sales figures in decades and it handed the crown to the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer to its rival, Europe's Airbus.

Dave Calhoun, who became CEO this month, is set to face investors on his first earnings call at the helm of the company and is expected to detail the company's recovery plan and what it will cost. Boeing said last week it expects regulators to sign off on the planes midyear, but the FAA has said it could come before that.