It was supposed to be a flagship product on Boeing’s catalogue of aircraft. However, the 737 MAX has proved to be anything but for the Seattle manufacturer who has sold just 30 of the aircraft so far this year.
The Boeing 737 MAX has been plagued by the bad press surrounding its grounding since March. As a result, the aircraft has suffered from a lack of orders this year. In fact, the American manufacturer received its first firm orders for the type in 2019 at the Dubai Airshow. 30 firm orders were placed by two airlines, a sign that airlines’ trust in the aircraft is being restored.
A poor year for orders
This year the Boeing 737 MAX’s competitor, the Airbus A320 family has sold relatively well. In fact, Airbus has sold 725 A320neo family aircraft in 2019 so far. However, the same cannot be said about the Boeing 737 MAX. As of the start of the recent Dubai Airshow, the aircraft had received a grand total of zero orders during 2019.
Due to the aircraft’s grounding, Boeing was unable to display a 737 MAX at the Dubai Airshow. It was also unable to show off its new 777-9 as the aircraft has yet to take its first flight due to delays to the program. These delays have primarily been caused by issues with the huge new GE9X engine.
In the commercial aerospace sector, Boeing was mainly showing off its 787 at the Dubai Airshow. However, the manufacturer booked 30 firm orders for the 737 MAX, in addition to a further 30 aircraft on a memorandum of understanding.
Firstly, SunExpress, based in Turkey, placed a firm order for 10 further Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. These were for the aircraft’s -8 variant and were existing options which were firmed up. According to Bloomberg, a further 20 orders were placed by an unidentified customer, likely to be announced at a later date.
Kazakh carrier, Air Astana also held a press conference with Boeing regarding the 737 MAX. The Asian carrier there placed a memorandum of understanding for 30 aircraft. If firmed up, these will go to the carrier’s new low-cost subsidiary, Fly Arystan.
Huge IAG letter of intent
Elsewhere in the year, at the Paris airshow, the International Airlines Group placed a large letter of intent. The parent company of airlines such as British Airways and Iberia placed a letter of intent for 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. If firmed up, these would go to British Airways, Vueling, and LEVEL. Additionally, it seems as though IAG boss Willie Walsh is in serious talks over the order, even negotiating an earlier order date.
Will Boeing 737 MAX orders pick up in 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!