Boeing reached a sad milestone in January by ending the month with no orders for its jets. Since 1962, the planemaker has not gone a month without a single order, when its commercial aircraft line only had the 707 in production and the 727 had not yet flown for the first time.
The bleak scenario contrasts with the 274 orders that Airbus confirmed last month. Regarding deliveries, the situation was less dramatic: while the European rival sent 31 planes to its customers, Boeing delivered 13 jets, six of them 787, two 777, two 767 and three 737NG.
The main reason for the unexpected result involves the 737 Max, which since March of last year has been grounded after two fatal accidents caused by the MCAS system, created to help pilots in situations of high angle of attack, but which had problems with their software.
With more than 400 units produced and not delivered, Boeing ended up suspending production of the 737 Max in January, pending approval from civil aviation authorities for the jet to fly again. However, this process has been slow, pushing the possible return date into the second half.
The large delivery queue that has formed may have influenced potential customers to give up ordering the Boeing jet, as the process of resuming production and even training pilots will delay deliveries for several months.
Orders shrank in 2019
The month with zero orders may even repeat the negative result of 2019 when Boeing saw its backlog shrink due to cancellations. The company has not yet updated information on net orders, which reveal possible reductions in orders already placed.
The news for Boeing just doesn’t get any worse because FAA chief Steve Dickson said there could be a 737 Max certification flight in the next few weeks and that he was pleased to see the manufacturer’s progress in resolving the plane’s problems.