Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 Max’s return to flight

Boeing is reporting final 2020 numbers for airplane orders and deliveries, and they are down from 2019 even though the 737 Max is flying again

Boeing Co. got a bump in orders and deliveries of new planes in December, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a poor year for the big aircraft maker.

Chicago-based Boeing still reported more cancellations than new orders for its 737 Max jet, which was grounded for 21 months after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

Deliveries are crucial because aircraft makers get much of their cash when planes are delivered. Short on cash during the Max grounding, Boeing has borrowed billions and cut thousands of jobs to reduce costs.

Boeing reported 90 new orders in December. The bulk, 75, came in a single previously announced order by Irish discount airline Ryanair. The total included cargo carrier DHL’s order for eight Boeing 777 freighters, which was announced Tuesday.

However, Boeing also reported canceled orders for 105 Max planes, all but five by leasing companies that fear it will be difficult to find operators to take the planes.

The totals don’t include Alaska Airlines’ decision to buy 23 more Max jets. That deal was announced last month but will be reported with January orders, a Boeing spokesman said.

For 2020, orders fell to 184 from 246 in 2019.

Airbus reported 383 orders in 2020.

Boeing said it has a backlog of nearly 3,300 unfilled orders for the Max and about 4,200 for all planes, including cargo freighters.

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