Boeing is likely to lose about 90 jet orders due to “geopolitical issues” related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the company said Tuesday.
The aircraft maker said it is not canceling the orders — yet. But it has placed them in an accounting limbo which it uses when there are questions about whether jet orders on its books are likely to be completed.
The company disclosed Tuesday that it added 141 jets to that accounting classification in March. About two-thirds of those orders — or just more than 90 — are for 737 Max jets that have been affected by the war in Ukraine and related economic sanctions.
The company has seen an increase of orders added to this accounting limbo in the last two years, as the pandemic caused a sharp drop in demand for new planes. Including the additions in March, there are now nearly 950 commercial jet orders deemed to have that uncertain status, leaving Boeing with a backlog of about 4,300 jets yet to build.
Sanctions are preventing any current aircraft sales to Russia. Boeing and other western aircraft makers such as Airbus have also cut off the supply of needed spare parts and maintenance support for planes in Russia in order to comply with sanctions. So doubts about future orders to Russia are no surprise.
Boeing’s data show only 30 737 Max jets orders from a Russian carrier, Utair Airlines. But most Russian airlines order jets from Boeing and rival Airbus through leasing companies. So there were likely more Boeing jets destined for Russia before the war.
Even if sanctions are lifted, the relationship between Russia and the leasing companies has probably been permanently damaged by Russia’s move to nationalize and take title of hundreds of planes owned by those companies.
Boeing also reported another seven 737 Max jets on order by Ukraine airline, SkyUp.
The good news for Boeing (BA) is that it had a net increase of 38 new orders during the month of March.