In March, customers of Boeing Co. cancelled 150 orders for 737 Max aircraft, amid the worsening crisis due to coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic, multiple reports said.
The cancellations for Boeing’s best-selling aircraft, which has been grounded since last year after fatal crashes, follow weak demand for air travel as majority of airlines across the world have halted their operations to stop the spread of the virus.
Boeing reportedly said, “We are working closely with our customers, many of whom are facing significant financial pressures, to review their fleet plans and make adjustments where appropriate. At the same time, Boeing continues to adjust its order book to adapt to lower-than-planned 737 MAX production in the near term.”
Irish aircraft leasing firm Avolon cancelled orders for 75 additional 737 Max jets, and Brazilian carrier GOL scrapped its order for 34. Further, Lufthansa subsidiary SmartWings cancelled orders for five jets, while the details of the other 36 jet orders were not known.
In the month of February, Boeing had reported 41 order cancellations. In the first three months till March 31, Boeing has removed 314 737 jets from its order list.
Meanwhile, the company received 31 orders for jets in March, including 18 for military aircraft.
Boeing still has a backlog of 5,049 orders, including 4,079 orders for the Max jets.
The 737 Max were grounded by airlines worldwide in March 2019 following two deadly crashes within a short span of five months that killed a total of 346 people.
Since then, the company has been trying to fix its software and safety issues to put its hugely popular aircraft back to service. In mid-January, Boeing had stopped 737 MAX production after it failed to get regulatory approvals and due to a backlog of 400 undelivered jets. In late March, there were reports that Boeing plans to restart the production of 737 Max by May.
Boeing on Tuesday said it delivered 50 commercial aircraft in the first quarter, including five 737 jets.
Boeing had said last week that it would temporarily suspend all 787 operations at its South Carolina factory until further notice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Boeing had offered buyouts to its employees in an effort to lower workforce.
Last week, rival Airbus also said it is cutting commercial aircraft production by a third citing lower demand due to Covid-19. The European aerospace giant said it would cut production of its A320 narrowbody aircraft to 40 per month.
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