Boeing reported its worst annual net orders in decades on Tuesday. The sales results stripped the Seattle, Washington-based company of the crown it held for eight years as the world’s largest plane maker. That honor now goes to its archrival, Airbus.
Boeing’s orders and deliveries collapsed last year as airlines globally grounded their fleets of Boeing 737 MAX jets. The decision came after two fatal crashes involving the narrow-body jet. Boeing later halted its production.
As a result, the company got trounced. Boeing landed just 54 plane orders in 2019 versus 768 orders for Airbus. The U.S. aerospace giant’s deliveries fell by more than half to 380 planes. Compare that to its European rival’s record 863 jets.
Final deliveries are crucial because that’s when plane makers earn most of their revenue.
Boeing has been losing around $1 billion per month due to the 737 MAX grounding. There’s little clarity as to when it’s likely to get the blessing from regulators to return the plane to service.
Despite that, American Airlines said Tuesday it hopes to resume service of its 737 MAX jets in June. And Ryanair said it could start getting its first deliveries of the 737 MAX by April. The Irish carrier has up to 210 of those jets on order.
Troubles for a major manufacturer like Boeing can have a ripple effect on other businesses, jobs, and the national economy. So Americans are rooting for the company to solve the 737 Max issues so that sales can take off again.
(A Boeing 737 MAX airplane sits on the assembly line in December 2019, in Renton, Washington. AP/Ted S. Warren - File)