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Boeing's Q3 Deliveries Show Scope of Its Problems

Oct. 15, 2020
The 737 MAX crisis may end soon, but the Covid-19 pandemic is beginning to show how falling demand for new aircraft is affecting manufacturing activity.

The Boeing Co. delivered its summary of aircraft deliveries for Q3 2020, quantifying the scope of its problems as it works to recover from two concurrent crises: the 18-months-long idling of its best-selling, 737 MAX program; and the collapse in demand for new aircraft as a result of the decline in commercial and leisure travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes delivered 28 new aircraft during the July-September period, compared to 62 delivered for Q3 2019. The new total included three jets from the 737 series (in this case, the previous Next Generation model); five 777s; and 13 of the 787 Dreamliner jets. Also delivered were one 747 and six 767 aircraft, which models now are used as cargo aircraft.

For the current year to-date, Boeing has delivered 98 new aircraft, of which just 12 have been of the 737-NG series, 15 have been 777s, and 49 have been 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing's Q3 orders for military aircraft totaled 37 (including new and remanufactured AH-64 Apache helicopters, new and remanufactured CH 47 Chinook helicopters, F/A-18 Models, P-8 Models, and KC-46 tankers.) This compares to 120 military aircraft orders received during Q3 2019.

While the 737 MAX problem has been affecting the OEM for more than a year, Boeing plans to resume deliveries soon, perhaps by the end of this year, as the Federal Aviation Authority signals its preparations to issue a new airworthiness certification for the jet that has been the focus of a revision to its flight-control program software, the result of two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.

However, Boeing's formidable log of orders for the 737 MAX has been weakened following the changed outlook for commercial aviation resulting from the pandemic. Reportedly, Boeing has received 1,006 cancellations of the 737 MAX orders, the total now being reported at 4,129 aircraft.

"We continue to work closely with our customers around the globe, understanding their near-term and longer term fleet needs, aligning supply and demand while navigating the significant impact this global pandemic continues to have on our industry," stated Greg Smith, Boeing executive vice president of Enterprise Operations and chief financial officer.

"We're taking actions to resize, reshape, and transform our business to preserve liquidity, adapt to the new market reality and ensure that we deliver the highest standards of safety and quality as we position our company to be more resilient for the long term."

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