Boeing in March delivered just 20 aircraft, consisting of a dozen commercial passenger airliners, four freighter planes and four military derivative jets.
And while the jet maker booked 31 new jet orders in March, it also saw 150 orders for the grounded 737 MAX canceled.
In a statement, Boeing attributed the meager delivery total and the mounting number of order cancellations to a combination of the staggering impact of COVID-19 on air travel and the continued grounding of the 737 MAX.
“The airline industry is confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented impacts on air travel. We are working closely with our customers, many of whom are facing significant financial pressures, to review their fleet plans and make adjustments where appropriate,” Boeing said. “At the same time, Boeing continues to adjust its order book to adapt to lower-than-planned 737 MAX production in the near term.”
The company hasn’t built any 737 MAXs since January due to the grounding of that airplane, and for the last week of March stopped all local commercial jet production to try to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus among its workforce.
In addition to some airlines being unable to accept jet deliveries after the collapse in demand, others that want to pick up a plane here might find it impossible to do so because of global travel bans due to COVID-19.
“We continue to work with our customers on the timing of their deliveries due to logistical challenges of visiting the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak,” Boeing stated.
Following MAX cancellations the previous month, Boeing’s net order total of minus-119 airplanes last month brings the order tally for the year to minus-147 airplanes.
Half the March cancellations were by a single customer: large airplane lessor Avolon. Separate from the 150 cancellations, Boeing also removed another 139 MAXs from its order backlog based on an accounting rule that requires it to not count certain airline commitments that either have insufficient financial backing or a contract that’s not firmly binding.
The remaining unfilled MAX order backlog stands at just over 4,000 airplanes.
The new orders added in March consisted of a dozen 787 Dreamliners for All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan, one 767 freighter for FedEx, and 18 of the 737-based P-8 anti-submarine plane for the Navy.
The deliveries in March consisted of one Navy P-8 and 19 widebody jets: five 767s, including three airframes for the Air Force’s KC-46 air refueling tanker and two commercial freighter models; three 777s, including one passenger jet and two freighters; and 11 Dreamliners.
March’s tally brings the total number of deliveries for the year to 50, consisting of five 737s, zero 747s, ten 767s, six 777s and 29 Dreamliners.