Boeing lost orders for another 43 jets in July. But that’s actually an improvement for the troubled aircraft maker’s order book.
The latest canceled orders were for the 737 Max, its best-selling jet, which has been grounded since March 2019 following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. But despite the extended grounding, Boeing didn’t start to see a stream of canceled orders until the Covid-19 pandemic caused a near halt of air travel and massive losses throughout the world’s airlines.
Boeing reported 377 canceled orders through the first half of this year, with 60 of them in June. Most of the newest canceled orders came from aircraft leasing companies, which buy the jets, lease them to airlines and collect rent on them.
In addition to the canceled July orders Boeing reclassified nine jet orders as no longer certain enough to be counted in the company’s backlog of orders. That can be caused by financial problems at an airline customer or an airline customer notifying Boeing that it wishes to get out of the order. Details of that cancellation have not yet been finalized.
Boeing had no new orders for jets last month.
Even with orders being canceled and reclassified, Boeing still has about 4,500 planes in its backlog of orders. But its major customers — passenger airlines — are not eager to take delivery of those jets as they seek to preserve their cash.
Boeing delivered only four jets in July, two 787 Dreamliners and two freighters.
It’s the same number of planes that Boeing delivered in May, when production fell to a nearly 12-year low.
In May the company ramped up production following a shutdown of its factories in response to health concerns. But July’s slow deliveries are another sign of the low demand for jets. Most airlines have grounded a significant percentage of their fleets and are operating at only a fraction of their pre-pandemic schedule.
The lack of deliveries is bad news for Boeing, which gets the majority of the revenue from the sale of a plane at the time of delivery.