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Travel industry news

10 Apr 2019

BY James Chapple

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Boeing orders ‘nearly halved’ during first quarter

Orders of new Boeing aircraft nearly halved year-on-year during the first quarter of 2019 while deliveries of its troubled 737 MAX fell by a third as the manufacturer continues to deal with the fallout from two fatal crashes involving the aircraft in just five months.

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Boeing orders ‘nearly halved’ during first quarter

The company confirmed total Q1 orders fell from 180 this time last year to just 95, with no new orders at all for the 737 MAX – its top-selling model. Deliveries of 737 aircraft, meanwhile, fell from 132 during Q1 last year to 89.


Total Q1 commercial aircraft deliveries fell to 149 from 238 in Q4 2018 and from 184 in Q1 2018. Just 11 MAX aircraft were delivered during March, down from 26 in February.

 

Deliveries have been frozen since the 737 MAX was grounded following the crash involving Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in early March, which killed all 157 people on board.


This came after Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta last October, killing all 189 people on board.

 

Both flights were operated by Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and are understood to have suffered similar issues relating to the aircraft’s manoeuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS).


Boeing is currently working on a software fix for the MCAS, as well as a new warning system, updated pilot training and associated documentation and manuals.


The manufacturer confirmed last week it would reduce production of the 737 MAX by about 20% from 52 a month to 42.

 

To date, Boeing has received orders for more than 5,000 737 MAX aircraft worth in excess of $600 billion to the company. It has delivered just short of 400 so far since the aircraft entered commercial service in May 2017.


Tui, which has 15 of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, has warned a prolonged grounding of the 737 MAX through late September could cost the company €300 million.


American Airlines, meanwhile, which has 24 737 MAXs and many more on order, has cut its first quarter forecast.


Ryanair was due to start receiving the first of its 737 MAX 200 variant this summer, but has had to adjust its route network to mitigate the delays.


Norwegian and Icelandair are among the European airlines that have also been forced to adjust their fleet distribution and flying network due to the grounding.

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