The price for past management mistakes continues to be heavily charged to Boeing. In data released on Tuesday, the US manufacturer show more disappointing figures in October, accumulating two months without any order in the commercial aircraft division. The company was able to deliver 13 jets, two for military use and five for cargo purposes.
Once again Boeing updated its 737 MAX order backlog and saw the number shrink by another 37 units. As a result, the balance of pending orders fell to 3,320 aircraft, down 1,043 jets this year. As a comparison, rival A320neo had a total of almost 6,000 aircraft pending delivery last month.
Boeing’s drama is not restricted to the problematic single-aisle jet. Also the company’s former star, the 787 Dreamliner, suffers from delays in delivery after issues in its manufacturing process. Still, the company delivered four units of the model last month – one 787-8 for American Airlines, two 787-10 (Etihad and Saudi Arabian) and one 787-9 for the lessor Aercap.
The line of widebodies also suffers from a sharp drop in demand for long-haul flights, which has affected the plans of many airlines to the point that Boeing has decided to reduce and concentrate production of the 787 at the North Charleston plant. Like the MAX, the Dreamliner also starts to have units accumulated in the plants waiting for inspections before delivery.
Due to the restrictions adopted with the 737 and 787, there is little left for Boeing to do in the commercial aviation market. One of the exceptions in October was the delivery of a 777-300ER to British Airways, through leasing, in addition to one of the last 747-8Fs for UPS.
In contrast to the rival’s situation, Airbus has managed to expand its numbers even slowly and steadily. The European manufacturer ended October with 72 planes delivered, including 43 jets of the A320 family, 12 A220, four A330, 12 A350 and one A380 (for All Nippon Airways). The company also closed the sale of 11 other aircraft, including A220, A320neo and A321neo models.
The balance from 2020 to October is largely favorable to Europeans: Airbus accumulates 308 orders and a backlog of 7,377 aircraft. Boeing, in turn, has 4,275 pending aircraft and a negative net balance of 1,020 units.
737 MAX close to flying commercial again
Despite the disappointing results, Boeing can still celebrate the imminent end of the 737 MAX’s grounding. In a statement to Flight Global, Steve Dickson, FAA director general, stated that “is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed changes to the Boeing 737 Max. We expect that this process will be finished in the coming days.”
After the new jet airworthiness directive is issued, airlines that are customers of the model will have the option of training their crews to adapt to the new safety procedures. The expectation of some companies is to count on the 737 MAX again from December.