Boeing Reports No New 737 Max Orders 'As Predicted,' Says Economist

Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft parked at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington. Photo Credit: GARY HE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
August 13, 2019

Stock prices in Boeing remained in the positive Tuesday despite a new report from the company that revealed it has seen no orders for its embattled 737 MAX model in the last five months.

"I think it's as predicted," Peter Morris, a chief economist at Ascend and an air industry analyst, told Cheddar. "I think, in their mind, it's a question of getting it back in the air, and then getting that 300 or so aircraft that are due for delivery out to the clients, in addition to ⁠— obviously ⁠— fixing the 350-plus ones that are on the ground as well."

"You're talking about a figure of about 600 and counting that aren't in use. So clearly, there's a gap across the marketplace," he adds. "It's a big cash-flow issue. Obviously, if there's a further postponement, that adds to the misery as well."

Reuters reported that Boeing's deliveries fell 38 percent in the first seven months of 2019 with the company only delivering 258 aircraft compared to 417 by this time last year. The net cancellations or conversions on orders through July were 52, overall net orders through the month were negative 88.

The new delivery numbers come as Boeing rides out the months-long grounding of its 737 MAX jets around the world following the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa and Lion Air Flight 610 from Jakarta, which collectively caused the deaths of 346 people.

The company has been in talks with the crash victims' families, but no settlement has been reached so far. Boeing also is facing a lawsuit from more than 400 pilots who say the company covered-up design flaws.

Airlines were left scrambling to find flights that were slated to use the MAX jets amid the worldwide lockdown. Some are reportedly trying to purchase older planes, while others are reaching out to charter companies to fill gaps.

While those airlines ⁠— and Boeing itself ⁠— may be eager to return the model to the air, updates to the 737 MAX must still satisfy the Federal Aviation Administration.

Last month, the FAA confirmed a new administrator, Stephen Dickinson, who told reporters on Monday: "This plane will not fly in commercial service again until I'm completely assured that it is safe to do so. The FAA is not following any timeline for returning the aircraft to service."

Tuesday's disappointing delivery numbers are just the latest hit for Boeing, which is watching as Airbus finds itself poised to take over as the world's largest jet maker, a title Boeing has held for the past seven years.