Airlines have been facing operational difficulties following the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. The model was banned in March 2019 after two accidents in the preceding months. While airlines wait for the go-ahead to operate these planes again, over 4,000 of them are yet to be delivered.
CNBC reports that 4,600 737 MAXs are yet to be shipped to airlines. As the manufacturer continues to repair the issues that caused its grounding, these orders are likely to remain backlogged. The US firm only introduced the aircraft two years ago, in May 2017. The airliner was presented in the forms of 737 MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 200, MAX 9 and MAX 10.
However, it was the two separate accidents that happened on two MAX 8s that caused the ban on the whole range. The incidents in question happened on Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019. These events sadly saw a fatality rate of 346.
According to Reuters, there were over 2,500 global orders made for the 737 MAX in February 2019. This was one month before the last 737 crash and its subsequent ban. Therefore, the majority of these orders remain unfulfilled along with many previous orders.
Southwest Airlines placed more of these orders than any other airline, with 280 units requested. Although, only 31 units had been delivered to the US carrier with 249 yet to be fulfilled. Flydubai is the airline with the second most orders that were yet to be fulfilled. The UAE based airline was waiting on 237 planes out of their order of 251.
Despite the unfortunate accident on its service last year, Lion Air placed an order for 201 737 MAXs. The Indonesian airline was only supplied with 7% of its order. VietJet Air is another airline that placed a sizable order of 200 units. The Vietnamese airline did not, however, receive a single delivery.
Other airlines with significant orders include United Airlines, SpiceJet, GOL Linhas Aereas, Ryanair and Jet Airways. Many have expressed frustration with the groundings, with their operations being greatly impacted by the situation.
This week, Ryanair froze payments to Boeing while it waits for the approval for commercial use of the 737 MAX. Earlier in the year, Jet Airways ceased all of its operations. The India based airline struggled to cope with debt, along with the grounding of almost a quarter of their fleet.
The worldwide ban has caused a domino effect in global aviation with many reports of struggling financials. Many airlines have had to revise their routes and find alternative aircraft suitable for their services.
However, Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have been working hard to get the range back in the air with an assessment due in October. Once the current crop is back on the runway, Boeing can go back to prioritizing their currently unfulfilled orders.
Next year is set to be a significant one for both Boeing and airlines around the world. The institutions will be looking to start the next decade strong, following a year of uncertainty within the industry.