Boeing deliveries for the month of May are down over 50% due to the safety crisis surrounding their grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
According to US news agency, CNBC, Boeing announced on Tuesday that it had handed over to the airlines 56% fewer planes in May 2019 compared to the same month last year.
The Seattle plane maker blamed two deadly crashes of its best-selling 737 MAX for the drop in new deliveries. In total Boeing only delivered 30 new aircraft last month, compared to 68 for the same period last year.
Uncertainty is playing on the minds of many airline CEO’s
Of course, the uncertainty over the Boeing 737 MAX is playing on every airline CEO’s mind, as is the reason why many of them rushed into purchasing Boeing’s fuel-efficient, longer-range aircraft.
Now the 737 MAX is grounded, following two deadly crashes, the first involving Lion Air 610 shortly after take-off from Jakarta, which killed all 189 passengers and crew.
The second deadly crash involved Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya. This time 157 people perished in the crash, forcing Aviation authorities around the world to ground Boeing’s big seller.
Now with all 737 MAX aircraft no longer flying, these same CEO’s that bought the MAX are either being forced to drop flights or scramble to find replacement aircraft. Faced with these circumstances and the fact that no one knows when the aircraft will be able to fly again, it is not surprising the Boeing’s deliveries are down.
Other factors besides the 737 MAX are behind the lower numbers
While the 737 MAX is easy to blame for Boeing’s declining numbers, we have to remember that orders for aircraft are placed years in advance. This is backed up by Boeing having to cancel 71 orders that were intended for India’s Jet Airways.
In April, Jet Airways failed to secure emergency funding from the banks. With the airline over a billion dollars in debt, all new orders for aircraft were cancelled. A statement issued by Boeing on Tuesday carried by Aviation Voice confirmed the Jet Airways cancellations, saying,
“Due to the airline’s current status, we have cancelled the contractual agreements for those airplanes.”
The Paris Air Show is right around the corner
With the Paris Air Show due to kick off next week, the dark cloud hanging over the 737 MAX has to be worrying Boeing executives.
Traditionally the Paris Air Show is seen as one of the biggest aviation industry trade shows in the world, and is where commercial aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus go head to head.
Boeing will undoubtedly be under the spotlight for an announcement with regards to a timeline as to when they expect the 737 MAX to be back in service. Saying that, it would be highly surprising if Boeing were to actually to name a date, given that airline regulators around the world are still keen to inspect the jet prior to putting it back into service.
Could an airline announce an order for the 737 MAX during Paris?
As unlikely a scenario as this might seem, given the progress on the MCAS software fix, Leeham News is reporting that Ryanair might be looking to take advantage of Boeing’s current woes.
Renowned for being a hard negotiator, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary recently said that the low-cost Irish airline was contemplating ordering new aircraft. He has been seeking compensation for the grounding, and hinted he may have secured discounts rather than cash.
According to Flight Global O’Leary said in an interview with CNBC:
“We’re having a discussion with Boeing. I think they will have to sensibly approach the losses, the million passengers, we’ve lost this year. I’m always much more interested in the cost of aircraft…I don’t need cash compensation. I’d like to see some movement from Boeing on the pricing of aircraft and on future orders.”
Boeing would love to see confidence return in its 737 MAX, so who knows; O’Leary might just come away from Paris with a sweet deal.