Though the pandemic has brought an unprecedented aviation downturn, Boeing added 23 net orders in August as its sales tally for the year crept up to 280 net orders.
However, with production still halted on the 787 Dreamliner by manufacturing quality problems and other jet assembly lines slowed, Boeing delivered only 22 airplanes, including just 14 passenger jets.
Rival Airbus, which has lagged Boeing in new orders this year, won 99 net orders in August, boosting its sales tally so far this year to 132 net orders. The new orders included 30 of the hot-selling A321neos for Delta and another 36 for U.K. low-cost leisure airline Jet2.com.
And Airbus delivered 40 jets in August, all of them passenger planes.
Boeing’s monthly data update, posted to its website, shows that in August it won 53 new airplane orders while 30 orders were canceled or converted.
It won 35 new gross orders for 737 MAXs, including a dozen for Alaska Airlines and eight for Miami-based private investment firm 777 Partners, which will lease the MAXs to Canada’s new ultra-low-cost-carrier Flair Airlines.
However, also in August existing orders for 28 MAXs were canceled.
And Boeing booked 18 new orders for the larger widebody jets built in Everett and North Charleston, S.C., while losing only two to cancellations.
Of the new orders, 11 were for 777 air cargo freighters and seven were for 787 Dreamliners. The two cancellations were 787s for lessor Avolon, for a net gain of five 787s in the month.
In other changes, a net total of 20 MAXs and two 787s were restored to the official order backlog after previously being removed because the orders were considered uncertain because of contractual or financial issues.
787 woes continue
But while the order side showed a little progress welcome in the midst of the aviation downturn, deliveries remain depressed.
Boeing delivered 14 MAXs in August, bumping up the number delivered since the nearly two-year grounding was lifted to 169 MAXs.
It also delivered out of its Renton single-aisle jet plant two military 737-based P-8 anti-submarine planes. And from its Everett widebody jet plant, it delivered four freighters and three Air Force refueling tankers.
Boeing’s dominance of the booming air cargo market, for which Airbus has no competing products as yet, has significantly shored up both its order and delivery figures during the pandemic.
The planemaker delivered no 787 Dreamliners as it awaits Federal Aviation Administration approval of its proposal to inspect those airplanes for fuselage defects.
Dreamliner deliveries initially halted last fall when engineers discovered small but unacceptable gaps between fuselage sections. Deliveries then resumed in March, only to stop again after more defects showed up.
In contrast, Airbus had a robust delivery tempo in August for its A320 family of single-aisle jets, flying off 38 of them.
Those deliveries consisted of 16 A320neos and 16 A321neos, as well as one older A320 model and five of the smaller A220 jets it acquired from Canada’s Bombardier.
However, deliveries of its large widebodies were clearly depressed by the lack of demand in the long-haul international market. Airbus delivered only two widebody jets in August, both A350-900s.
It delivered none of its largest planes, the A350-1000 and the A380 superjumbo jet. Cancellations in August included two A350-1000s.
Boeing’s official backlog now stands at 4,164 jets. Of those, 3,285 are 737 MAXs.
Airbus’s official backlog is now 6,932 jets. Of those, 5,654 are A320neos.