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February 11, 2020 2:30 PM, EST

Boeing Monthly Orders Fall to Zero for Second Time in Max Crisis

An employee works on a Boeing 737 Max in March 2019.An employee works on a Boeing 737 Max in March 2019. (David Ryder/Bloomberg News)

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Boeing Co. failed to sell any commercial planes in January, extending a slump that has strained the company’s finances since two deadly crashes grounded the best-selling 737 Max last year.

Last month was Boeing’s second with no orders since the Max flying ban began in March, according to data posted Feb. 11 on the company’s website. The Chicago-based manufacturer also came up empty in May of last year.

Deliveries were also lackluster. While January typically is a slow month for planemakers after a year-end push to hit targets, Boeing shipped only 13 jets last month. That was down from 46 a year earlier.

Boeing has been losing ground to European rival Airbus SE as the U.S. titan works with regulators to clear the Max to resume commercial service, a process the company expects to complete by midyear. Sales have been few and far between as airlines and lessors wait to see how the plane fares after a barrage of bad publicity.

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Boeing reversed gains, falling less than 1% to $343.32 at 11:47 a.m. in New York. Through Feb. 10, the shares had fallen 18% since the second Max crash, while Airbus advanced 23%.

Airbus started the year off with a flurry of sales, netting 274 orders as it closed previously announced deals with Spirit Airlines Inc. and Air Lease Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. aircraft financier.

Deliveries were slow for both planemakers, however. Airbus, which is struggling with snarls across its lineup, handed over only 31 jets in January. Boeing’s tally included six of the 787 Dreamliner and three 737 jet models that preceded the Max.

Boeing isn’t allowed to deliver any Max aircraft until regulators lift the grounding, depressing its results. The company halted 737 production last month with an estimated 400 jets stashed in storage across the western U.S.

The company last year logged its first annual loss since 1997 and has lined up a $13 billion loan as it burns through billions of dollars during the Max crisis, in part to support suppliers and compensate customers. Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson said recently that a certification flight for the grounded jet could be made in the next few weeks.

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