Boeing deliveries drop by half in March due to increased quality checks

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 10:08 AM

By Allison Lampert

(Reuters) – Boeing said on Tuesday it had delivered 29 airplanes in March, down more than half from the 64 delivered in the same month a year ago, as 737 MAX production slipped on increased quality checks and audits by regulators.

Boeing has said it is producing fewer MAX single-aisle jets to improve manufacturing quality after the Jan. 5 mid-air blowout of a door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet brought the U.S. planemaker under increased scrutiny from regulators.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Boeing’s monthly output rate fell as low as single digits in late March, well below a Federal Aviation Administration-imposed (FAA) cap of 38 jets a month.

During the first three months of 2024, Boeing handed over 83 airplanes to customers, including 66 MAX jets, the company said, down from a total 130 airplane deliveries during the first quarter of 2023.

“We’re deliberately going to slow to get this right,” Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West told a Bank of America conference last month. “We are the ones who made the decision to constrain rates on the 737 program below 38 per month until we feel like we’re ready.”

Boeing said it delivered eight MAX jets to Chinese operators in March. China resumed MAX deliveries in January.

Boeing’s European rival Airbus delivered 142 aircraft in the first quarter of 2024, up 12% from the same period last year, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing industry sources.

Boeing also said on Tuesday it had taken 113 new orders in March, boosted by a deal for 85 737 MAX 10 jets from American Airlines, which also ordered planes from Airbus and Embraer. That brings Boeing’s gross order total so far this year to 131.

After removing cancellations and conversions, Boeing posted a net total of 126 orders since the start of 2024.

After further accounting adjustments to reflect the quality of the backlog, Boeing reported adjusted net orders of 125 airplanes so far this year.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Mark Potter)