Boeing Reports Massive Drop in 737 Deliveries
Deliveries of Boeing's 737 aircraft have plummeted in the first quarter of 2019, according to the company, dropping by nearly half from the previous quarter, and a third when compared to the first quarter of 2018.
The aircraft manufacturer, beleaguered by safety issues surrounding its 737 MAXes, a variant of the workhorse aircraft, delivered 89 of the 737 aircraft from January to March 2019. That's down 49% from the 173 it delivered from the beginning of October 2018 to the end of December 2018 and down just under 33% from the 132 it delivered in the same period in 2018.
Historically, the company delivers more aircraft in the last two quarters of each calendar year than in the first two quarters.
Boeing has several 737 variants, including the Next Generation models (737-600, 737-700, -700ER, 737-800, and 737-900, -900E) and the MAX models. The company had been gradually phasing out its sales of 737NG aircraft as its MAX production ramped up over the past couple of years.
It did not break out how many of the 737s it delivered were 737 MAXes, but according to the Boeing website, 81 of the 89 delivered so far in 2019 were 737 MAXes. In the last three months of 2018, 134 of 173 were MAXes, and in the first three months of 2018, 60 of the 132 were MAXes.
Boeing's 737 MAX variants have been grounded around the world and are expected to remain flightless till at least the summer, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights as they scramble to replace their 737 MAX fleets, at least temporarily. The groundings were prompted by two fatal crashes that have been connected to the aircraft's MCAS software. (Boeing is reportedly rolling out a fix and bringing pilot demonstrations of the updated MCAS system worldwide.)
The total number of commercial aircraft Boeing delivered in the first quarter of 2019 came to 149, well below the 238 it delivered in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the 184 it delivered in the first quarter of 2018. Boeing's stock fell 1.3% after it announced the downturn in deliveries on Tuesday morning.
Boeing would not release information on 737 MAX orders that have been suspended. A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment.