Boeing Sold Zero New Aircraft In April

According to a recent company report, published on the 14th May, Boeing receive no new aircraft orders during the month of April. Could this be the impact of the 737 MAX disaster beginning to show?

Boeing Everett factory
April’s order book for Boeing tallied precisely zero. Photo: Boeing

Boeing’s latest company report, released on Tuesday, shows that the planemaker has had a tough start to the new financial year. Not only did their issues with the 737 MAX mean no new orders for their most popular narrowbody aircraft, but their sales of other models have tanked too.

Neither the popular 787 Dreamliner nor the 777 garnered any new orders in April, giving Boeing an overall order total of… zero.

According to CNN, the only orders reported by Boeing for April were really just paperwork. Four 737 MAX which had previously be sold to Boeing Capital were moved on to an unnamed lessor during the month. But, as these weren’t really new orders, Boeing didn’t count them and simply reclassified sales from the previous quarter to account for them.

Why aren’t airlines ordering from Boeing?

Boeing have taken quite a hit due to the MAX disaster. Their subsequent delivery halt and grounding of the aircraft has undoubtedly made a dent in their reputation, although it seems it can’t be entirely to blame for their zero orders in April.

Boeing 737 MAX
The 737 MAX fiasco has hurt Boeing’s reputation. Photo: Vortex Aviation Photography via Flickr.

In fact, in the previous month (March) when the world was still reeling from the second 737 MAX crash, as well as the grounding of the type, Boeing still made orders. That month it sold 20 of their 787 Dreamliners to Lufthansa, and 18 of the forthcoming 777X to British Airways.

So, if it’s not a confidence issue, why aren’t airline ordering from Boeing? Some are speculating that perhaps they are waiting for Boeing to lower their prices, in the wake of the MAX disaster. Added to this, next month’s Paris Air Show is often a showcase for large aircraft orders, so April is often a slower month.

Boeing 787
Sales of the Boeing 787 have been hit too. Photo: Midlands Airport via Flickr

However, Boeing did report 76 orders in April last year, so it seems that this April has been something of an exception. On top of their lack of orders, the company also debooked a staggering 210 aircraft, thought to have been on order for Jet Airways.

Airbus has a slow April too

Although their April wasn’t quite as bd as Boeing’s, Airbus had a marked slowdown on their order books too. The European planemaker booked just five gross orders, with two A330-800s for Uganda Airlines and three A350-900s for Lufthansa. However, they also logged five cancellations.

The Airbus cancellations came on top of 17 in March, 90 in February and 13 in January, making a total of 125 cancellations so far this year. Although five of these were destined for Jet Airways, the lion’s share is down to Emirates cancellation of their A380 orders, forcing Airbus to halt the program.

Both manufacturers have a sizeable backlog of orders in the pipeline, so one slow month is unlikely to impact on future prospects with any significance. However, if Boeing fail to pick up more orders over the next few months, it could be a signal that the world is not happy with the US planemaker.