Boeing confirmed on Wednesday two rumors that had been circulating in the market for a few weeks, both negative. The first is the delay in the schedule of the 777X program, which is only expected to enter service in 2022. It is the same year marked for the end of production of the 747, the famous “Queen of Skies”.
Dave Calhoun regretted the fact in a statement sent to employees, but promised that the jet will remain important for the company. “In light of the current market dynamics and outlook, we’ll complete production of the iconic 747 in 2022. Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future”, he said.
The 777X’s situation reflects the slowdown in the large aircraft market. According to Boeing, the production rate of the twin-engine aircraft, whether of the classic series or the new generation, will be only two units per month in 2021, one less than before.
The 737 MAX, which still has no time to fly again, will have its production maintained at a slow pace. Boeing’s most successful aircraft is only expected to reach a rate of 31 planes per month in early 2022. The loss from the program only grows: according to the company, in the second quarter discounts and refunds of $ 550 million were granted to customers.
“Regretfully, the prolonged impact of COVID-19 causing further reductions in our production rates and lower demand for commercial services means we’ll have to further assess the size of our workforce. This is difficult news, and I know it adds uncertainty during an already challenging time. We will try to limit the impact on our people as much as possible going forward. And as always, we will communicate openly, honestly and transparently”, added Calhoun, who replaced Dennis Muilenburg as CEO of Boeing at the end of last year.
The accumulated operating loss in the first half reached $ 4.3 billion for a total revenue of $ 28.7 billion, down 26% over the same period in 2019. Boeing claims to maintain a backlog of more than 4,500 aircraft worth $ 409 billion.