Boeing announced a quarterly loss on Wednesday, owing to penalties and expenses related to its troubled 787 Dreamliner and Starliner spacecraft programs, which dampened a ramp-up in 737 MAX deliveries and high airplane services income despite improving air travel.

Boeing's 737 MAX and 787 jetliners are critical to the company's capacity to recoup billions of dollars in lost sales due to the epidemic and move past the safety controversy sparked by two tragic crashes, while its Starliner has fallen behind SpaceX, Elon Musk's dominant space company.

In a statement to workers, Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said, "Our commercial market is exhibiting improved indications of recovery, with vaccine distribution and border protocols beginning to open."

Calhoun did point out, however, that Boeing was still working through several engineering, production, and safety certification issues across its entire aircraft portfolio, which was exacerbated by a critically damaged supply chain and the continuing grounding of the 737 MAX jet in China.Boeing lied about 737 MAX after deadly crashes, shareholders say | Aviation  News | Al Jazeera

Boeing said it incurred exceptional expenditures of around $1 billion - or $183 million in the quarter - due to inspections and repairs from structural problems buried in the planes during the last two years, matching a price tag originally reported by a major Newswire in February.

It has twice suspended 787 deliveries, the most recent of which has lasted since May and resulted in a stockpile of more than 100 planes worth $9 billion in cash. On Tuesday, the major Newswire reported that the chances of a delivery breakthrough were dwindling due to fallout from plant troubles and disagreements with suppliers.

Boeing also took a $185 million charge on its long-awaited Starliner astronaut capsule, which is being developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program, due to delays and repairs caused by defective fuel valves, which forced the spacecraft to be grounded after its previous flight attempt in August.

In the meantime, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft has successfully delivered humans and cargo to orbit four times.

Boeing reported a net loss of $132 million, down from $466 million a year ago, but a small adjusted core operating profit of $59 million, sending shares up 1.1% to $212.20 in premarket trade.

According to Refinitiv statistics, the adjusted loss per share was 60 cents per share, compared to analysts' average forecast of 20 cents per share.

Boeing's revenue increased by 8% to $15.3 billion, boosted by 737 MAX deliveries and growth in its services arm as the airline industry recovers.

Boeing also announced that it was currently producing 19 737 MAX jets each month, up from 16 in the previous quarter, with ambitions to increase to 31 in early 2022.

It delivered 62 737s in the quarter, the highest since the second of two fatal crashes grounded the plane worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, plunging Boeing into a crisis long eclipsed by the global epidemic.

It also stated that production at its South Carolina manufacturing has been around two aircraft per month, with intentions to return to an already slow rate of five per month at some point in the future.