Boeing lands few orders but delivers 26 Max jets to airlines
Backlog of Max orders down more than 1,000 from its peak.
CHICAGO – Boeing raised cash in January by delivering 26 new planes – including 21 Max jets – to airline customers, but it still suffered cancelled orders for the plane with a troubled history.
Most of the new 737 Max planes went to U.S. airlines. Boeing said Tuesday that Southwest took six Max jets, American and United got five each, and Alaska Airlines received two.
However, Boeing again failed to deliver any of its larger 787 twin-aisle jets. They have been held up by manufacturing defects in the fuselage.
And Boeing received orders for just four planes in January, all of them cargo jets, down from 90 orders in December. Orders for six planes were cancelled, including two Maxes, and Boeing cautioned that it’s no longer sure about completing sales of 11 other Maxes.
Boeing has a backlog of 3,202 unfilled Max orders, down more than 1,000 from its peak.
Boeing is pinning hopes for more cash and profits in 2021 on the recovery of the 737 Max, which was grounded worldwide for 21 months after two crashes killed 346 people. In November, U.S. regulators approved changes Boeing made – especially to a flight-control system that played a role in the crashes – and cleared the way for the plane to resume flying. Europe, Canada and Brazil have done the same.
Chicago-based Boeing has an inventory of about 450 Maxes it built during the grounding and gets cash as it delivers those planes.
The aircraft market remains weak because of the pandemic, which has battered air travel. Boeing hopes that demand for its planes will improve as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel rebounds.