Boeing 737 MAX grounding takes toll on deliveries in August

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 11, 2019
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington State. (Wikimedia Commons/SounderBruce)
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington State. (Wikimedia Commons/SounderBruce)

Boeing delivered 72 per cent fewer aircraft in August as 737 MAX grounding continues to take its toll on the company’s commercial aircraft output.

The monthly orders and delivery figures from Boeing published on Tuesday (US time) showed the company delivered 18 aircraft in the month of August, compared with 64 aircraft in the same month a year ago.

In the eight months to August, Boeing delivered 276 aircraft, down 42 per cent from 481 aircraft in the prior corresponding period. The August totals have put in doubt analysts’ estimates of about 500 deliveries by the end of calendar 2019.

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The global grounding of the 737 MAX is now entering its seventh month after the crashes of Lion Air flight last October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March. An anti-stall system on board the 737 MAX, known as the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) has been implicated in both fatal accidents.

A file image of a Boeing 737 MAX flight deck. (Boeing)
A file image of a Boeing 737 MAX flight deck. (Boeing)

Boeing has said previously that it had hoped to have the aircraft back in service by the end of calendar 2019.

While that work on on getting the 737 MAX recertified was ongoing, airlines such as Southwest and United have cancelled schedules until December and January, respectively.

Boeing said at its second quarter results in July it might consider further reducing production – it slowed the number of 737s emerging from final assembly to 42 a month in April, from 52 a month – or temporarily stop making 737s.

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This time last year the company was celebrating an order for 30 737 Max aircraft from Air Lease Corporation in August. It also received orders that month for 20 737 MAX aircraft from Aviation Capital Group and 40 from unidentified customers. In total, the 737 MAX accounted 90 of the 99 aircraft orders in August 2018. By comparison, the total orders for August 2019 was just six – two 787-9s and four 777s.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 N8704Q at Darwin Airport on Australia Day 2017. (Tony Kao)
Boeing 737 MAX 8 N8704Q at Darwin Airport on Australia Day 2017. (Tony Kao)

Meanwhile, Airbus reported last week that it had delivered 500 aircraft in the eight months to August, an increase of 66 from 434 in the same period a year ago. In the month of August Airbus delivered 42 aircraft.

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2 Comments

  • Mick D

    says:

    So disapointing for Boeing.

    They honestly need to rethink the 737. Its 1950’s design that has bolt-on’s that clearly are never going to be integrated seemesly like an aircraft purpose build from scratch!

    I guess thats why Airbus are the leaders now and will be for a long time.

    I am perplexed that Virgin are continuing with the Max aircraft given the track record and questionable build practices etc. I wont be placing my family on one, ever.

  • AlanH

    says:

    Yes, I totally agree! $ profits and an all-consuming desire to beat Airbus at their own game led to a premature upgrade and push into service of the venerable 737, but it really is well beyond it’s use-by date. They can’t keep hanging bigger engines off those wings with that inadequate undercarriage. Should have stuck with the 757! Boeing need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a totally new design (per the Dreamliner) for their single aisle medium haul A320/1 competitor. Such a shame that a desire for profits and market dominance could end so tragically for a once-supreme, and so highly respected, market leader. This could be the death of Boeing!

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