Boeing lost another three orders on its embattled 737 MAX in September, and received no new commercial aircraft orders, as it continues to face ongoing recertification efforts and a string of Dreamliner manufacturing flaws.
The US planemaker delivered 11 aircraft in total in September, less than half the figure it achieved in the same month of last year, and one less than it delivered in August.
September’s figure brings the total number of deliveries in the first nine months of 2020 to 98 aircraft, down from 301 in the same period last year.
According to Boeing, the 11 September deliveries included one P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, as well as three converted freighters – a 747 to United Parcel Service, a 767 to FedEx and a 777 to Lufthansa Cargo.
The final seven deliveries were all 787 Dreamliners, with one headed for leasing company AerCap Holdings, three for United Airlines, two for Turkish Airlines and one 787-10 delivered to Taiwan’s EVA Air.
According to Boeing, the three lost 737 MAX orders in September include two jets originally intended for leasing company BOC Aviation, and the third jet from an unidentified customer.
From January to September 2020, the number of MAX orders that have been cancelled and removed from Boeing’s official backlog now stands at 1,006 aircraft.
According to Air Lease Corp executive chairman Steven Udvar-Házy, Boeing is set to see the largest inventory of built new aircraft in its 104-year history, “the number of cancellations is increasing literally by every week”.
“Boeing has to make some tough decisions by the end of the year on how to deal with this,” Udvar-Házy said.
Amid the ongoing work to recertify its embattled 737 MAX, which was grounded in 2019 following two fatal crashes, Boeing has also taken a hit due to a string of manufacturing errors reported in its alternative cash cow, the 787 Dreamliner.
This all adds to the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly slowed demand for travel, and subsequently eradicated the need for new aircraft, with whole fleets sitting on the ground.