Boeing Has Had Net Positive Orders For Four Consecutive Months

Boeing grew its net order book by 20 planes in May as the aircraft manufacturer posted its fourth consecutive month of net positive orders. Boeing took orders for 73 aircraft across May, but it also had 53 cancelations and conversions. So far this year, Boeing’s net order book has grown by 177 aircraft.

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner N14011
Boeing grew its order book by 30 aircraft in May. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Boeing begins to recover from a disastrous couple of years

The month of May continued a steady upward trajectory for Boeing after a disastrous two years. Gross orders in May included a blockbuster order for 34 Boeing 737 MAX 7s from Southwest Airlines. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines exercised options to take a further 13 737 MAX 9s. Lessor SMBC Aviation Capital also ordered 14 737 MAX 8s.

The remaining 12 aircraft included seven Boeing 777 freighters, one of which is going to Lufthansa. Five 787-9 Dreamliners were also ordered by Lufthansa.

Cancelations across May included 48 737 MAXs no longer required by Aeromexico and Norwegian Air. Grupo Aeromexico SAB dropped an order for 34 MAXs and Norwegian Air canceled an order for 14 MAXs.

Boeing saw its net monthly orders move into positive territory for the first time in 14 months in February 2021 when the manufacturer grew its net order book by 31 planes. In March, Boeing grew its net order book by 40 planes despite recording 156 MAX cancelations that month. In April, Boeing grew its net order book by eight planes. May’s numbers continue the welcome trend.

Accounting adjustments boost the growth the net order growth to 177 planes this year. Based on its assessment of at-risk sales under a US accounting rule, 73 aircraft were added to the year’s running total.

Problems with the production of the 787 Dreamliner continue to plague Boeing. Photo: Boeing

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Boeing’s order book is growing, so is the delivery backlog

After several years of being comprehensively outpaced and outfoxed by European rival, Airbus, the United States aircraft manufacturer is now bouncing back. While Boeing is up 177 orders this year, Airbus remains in negative territory, its order book having shrunk by 31 planes so far this year.

But Boeing’s weak spot remains its production and delivery schedule. Boeing delivered just 17 planes in May. In contrast, Airbus handed 50 aircraft over to customers. In May, Boeing delivered planes to 11 customers. They included three 737 MAXs to Southwest Airlines, three MAXs to BOC Aviation, two MAXs to Fiji Airways, and a single MAX each to 777 Partners and Aeromexico respectively.

Freight company FedEx took a pair of 767-300 freighters and a single 777 freighter. The US Navy received a 737-800A configured as a P-8A Poseidon. Uzbekistan Airlines took a 787-8 Dreamliner and Atlantis Aviation Corporation received a single 787-9 Dreamliner. Finally, UPS lined up for a Boeing 747-8 freighter.

Production and delivery delays remain a weak spot for Boeing. Photo: Boeing

Production of two Boeing aircraft, the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner have been plagued by problems.

Production of the 737 MAX ceased in 2020 as Boeing grappled with a long-running global flight ban. The MAXs were beginning to roll off the assembly line again when a further production issue saw over 100 MAXs temporarily grounded.

The global success of Boeing’s Dreamliner program comes despite consistent issues with the production process that saw deliveries temporarily halted and the FAA scrutinize the program. A growing orderbook combined with production and delivery problems saw Boeing’s backorders grow in May from 4,045 aircraft to 4,121 aircraft.