Hong Kong-based aircraft lessor BOC Aviation has issued a statement today indicating that it has canceled an order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. According to Reuters, in addition to this cancelation, the company is deferring the delivery of some other Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Down by one-third
According to information obtained on BOC’s website, the firm has already taken delivery of six 737 MAX jets and had 87 on order as of March 31st, 2020. A cancelation of 30 represents a cut of one-third of the aircraft still to be delivered.
This cancelation likely has less to do with the troubles faced by the Boeing and its 737 MAX program, and much more to do with the global downturn in passenger air travel demand. As many countries still have travel restrictions and health experts anticipate a second wave of the virus, many airlines are predicting a two to three-year recovery to 2019-levels of passenger traffic.
BOC states that it works with 92 airlines across 40 countries.
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“We have had ongoing conversations with BOC Aviation regarding their 737 MAX portfolio and the impacts from the past year. We have come to an agreement with BOC Aviation to restructure their MAX order book. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to work with our customers to balance supply and demand with market realities, especially in the leasing sector. We appreciate BOC Aviation’s ongoing commitment to the 737 MAX program with 65 MAXs in their portfolio, including 57 unfilled orders. We look forward to delivering more MAX jets and supporting their future fleet needs.” –Boeing spokesperson
The news is quite timely given the fact that European budget airline Norwegian Air has also announced the cancelation of Boeing orders. The 97-aircraft cancelation consists of 92 737 MAX narrowbody jets and five widebody 787 Dreamliners. In addition to the order cancelation, the airline has filed a lawsuit against Boeing in order to reclaim pre-delivery payments for the aircraft.
In response to an inquiry regarding the Norwegian announcement, Boeing had this to say:
“We are not going to comment on commercial discussions with our customers. Norwegian Air Shuttle is a long-standing Boeing customer. As with many operators dealing with a very challenging time, we are working on a path forward.” – Official Boeing statement to Simple Flying
737 MAX recertification
It’s been an intense start to the week for Boeing as the news comes in the midst of the Federal Aviation Administrations commencement of recertification flight testing. The first flight took place on Monday morning just outside of Seattle, with the 737 MAX 7 flying to Moses Lake, Washington.
The FAA and Boeing are conducting a series of certification flights this week to evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX…While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain.
The FAA notes that these certification flights are expected to take approximately three days and will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet certification standards set by the FAA.
“We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” the FAA states.
What do you think of this cancelation? Is it more about the pandemic and the decline of air travel – or do you think it is more about the specific aircraft and the 737 MAX program? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Simple Flying reached out to Boeing for comment. However, at the time of publication, no response has been received from the company.