Boeing Loses More 737 MAX Orders--Update

Date : 11/12/2019 @ 8:03PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Boeing Co (BA)
Quote : 350.15  4.47 (1.29%) @ 3:32PM

Boeing Loses More 737 MAX Orders--Update

Boeing (NYSE:BA)
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By Doug Cameron 

Boeing Co. said it has lost orders for about 200 of its 737 MAX jets this year because of airline bankruptcies and customers swapping out for other models from the U.S. plane maker.

While Boeing said there have been no direct cancellations because of the global grounding of the jet in March, last month its MAX backlog was reduced by another 18 planes as two customers changed existing orders. The Chicago-based company currently has outstanding orders for 4,525 MAX jets.

Customers routinely swap aircraft orders, but the MAX backlog is under intense investor scrutiny following repeated delays in the plane's return to service following two fatal crashes.

Airlines and leasing companies often have to pay a penalty to change orders, but Boeing is under pressure to compensate its customers affected by the MAX grounding. The aerospace giant has set aside an initial $6.1 billion that it expects to pay over the next several years in the form of cash, discounts and services.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing hopes to secure regulatory approval to hand over some MAX jets next month, though new pilot training would prevent the aircraft from returning to passenger service until 2020.

Air Lease Corp., one of the world's largest plane-rental companies, swapped 15 of its MAX orders for five 787 Dreamliners in October, according to Boeing's latest order and delivery update Tuesday. Another customer, who wasn't identified, dropped an order for three MAX jets during the month in favor of two 777 aircraft.

Meanwhile, Air Lease said last week that it recently secured a new deal to rent MAX jets to an unidentified customer, adding that Boeing is helping some airlines pay rent on their grounded jets. Another unidentified customer also ordered a single MAX last month, taking a plane previously reserved for another buyer.

The order book for MAX aircraft took a big hit from the collapse of India's Jet Airways Ltd. in April, with Boeing scratching the last of 125 orders from the airline in September.

Boeing continues to produce 42 of its 737 jets a month, storing them at facilities in Washington state and Texas. Including those jets, an estimated 650 MAX planes remain parked around the world. The freeze on MAX deliveries has left the company relying more on deliveries of twin-aisle planes, defense equipment and services to bolster its balance sheet.

However, deliveries of wide-body jets continue to fall short of Boeing's production goals. The company handed over a dozen of its 787 Dreamliners last month to customers, having boosted monthly production to 14. Dreamliner deliveries so far this year stand at 125.

Boeing handed over a total of 20 jetliners in October, down from 57 in the same month last year. Without the MAX jet, the company is on track to end 2019 with around 400 jetliner deliveries, half of last year's total.

The total through October was 321 jets, compared with 625 in the same period in 2018. The final tally hinges on whether MAX deliveries resume by year end.

Boeing did secure orders for nine more wide-body jets in October, including two 777 freighters from Deutsche Lufthansa AG and the five 787s from Air Lease. An unidentified customer is buying two 787s that were previously ordered by Boeing's finance arm.

In total, 21 orders were removed from the books last month, taking Boeing's year-to-date net orders after cancellations and conversions to 45.

Rival Airbus SE delivered 77 jets last month, and though it cut its own full-year guidance because of production problems, The European plane maker is bound to overtake Boeing this year by handing over 860 aircraft.

--Benjamin Katz contributed to this article.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 12, 2019 14:48 ET (19:48 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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