Boeing Deliveries Drop After MAX Incident Amid Mounted Pressures

Boeing announced on Tuesday that it had delivered 27 aircraft in January, a 29% decrease from the same period last year. This drop was due to pressure from regulators, lawmakers, and customers following a mid-air cabin panel blowout on a MAX 9 last month. The number of 737 MAX, a profitable model for Boeing, delivered fell to 25 after two consecutive months of delivering over 40 MAXs. Despite January typically being a slower month for deliveries, Boeing managed to deliver 38 aircraft, including 35 MAXs, in January 2023.


The U.S. aircraft manufacturer recorded three gross orders, the lowest since 2019, following a successful December. Unnamed customers canceled orders for two 737 MAXs, and Spanish airline Air Europa canceled an order for a 787 Dreamliner. In comparison, Airbus, Boeing's European competitor, delivered 30 jets in January and received 31 new orders. Boeing has been working to clarify and improve its safety procedures following a January 5 accident involving a door plug on a brand new Alaska Airlines MAX 9 that detached during flight. As a result, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded the MAX 9 for several weeks last month and limited Boeing's MAX production while it audits the company's manufacturing process.

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This month, Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems identified a new quality issue. Spirit had mistakenly drilled holes in the window frames of some 737s, which could delay the delivery of approximately 50 planes. In addition to the 737 MAX deliveries, Boeing also delivered a 787 Dreamliner and a widebody 767, which will be converted into a KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force.


Boeing's backlog decreased from 5,626 to 5,599 aircraft as of January 31. Without considering accounting adjustments, it has a total of 6,189 unfilled orders. During a January 31 earnings call, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun stated that the company would not provide aircraft delivery targets for 2024 as it navigates the current crisis. He emphasized that the company's focus would be on each subsequent aircraft and meeting all internal, regulatory, and customer standards. Typically, aircraft manufacturers deliver roughly the same number of aircraft produced in a given month. However, Boeing has several 737s and 787s in storage due to the MAX crisis in 2018-2019 or requiring rework to correct production defects. Boeing executives have stated that the company intends to deliver most of these inventory jets by the end of 2024.

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