[Ensure you have all the info you need in these unprecedented times. Subscribe now.]
Boeing Co. is nearing 1,000 scrapped or impaired jetliner orders this year, failing to notch any sales in September, as the long 737 Max grounding and the coronavirus pandemic extended their toll.
The reduction of 983 net plane orders this year has winnowed Boeing’s stockpile by 19%, according to data posted Oct. 13 on the company’s website. Cancellations accounted for about a third of the lost sales, while the rest were deemed at risk of being junked under a U.S. accounting standard.
The collapse in demand for air travel — and new jetliners — has added pressure on Boeing as the company works to end the Max’s flying ban, which was imposed in March 2019 after two deadly crashes. Deliveries of all models fell to just 28 planes in the third quarter, down from 63 a year earlier, as Boeing also grappled with a spate of production issues that forced additional inspections and repairs for its 787 Dreamliners.
“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,” Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said.
Boeing has been shrinking its workforce, reviewing its global footprint and shedding noncore investments to save cash and withstand a jetliner market that’s heading for a long slump. After years of booming sales, the manufacturer failed to record any new orders in four months of 2020.
The Chicago-based company grossed eight aircraft orders during the third quarter, compared with five for Airbus SE. And while Boeing delivered 11 jets in September, the company’s European rival shipped 57 aircraft — its best monthly showing this year, even as the pandemic jolted travel.
Still, Boeing posted a few glimmers of progress. The planemaker delivered seven Dreamliners last month. That’s better than the four 787s it handed over to customers in August as the company uncovered separate production flaws that, in combination, could dangerously weaken the jet’s carbon-composite frame.
Some of the eight Dreamliners that were grounded in late August due to improper gaps in their aft sections have been returned to service, a Boeing spokeswoman said.
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: