Boeing logged another month of zero 787 deliveries in December 2020, while also receiving cancellations for another 105 737 Max.
On the bright side, during December Boeing resumed 737 Max deliveries and landed new orders for 90 jets, including 737 Max and widebody freighters.
In all of 2020, Boeing delivered 157 jets, including 43 737s, five 747s, 30 767s, 26 777s and 53 787s, its data shows. By comparison, Boeing delivered 380 aircraft in 2019.
The December activity leaves Boeing at year-end with 4,223 jets in its backlog, down 22% since the end of 2019 due largely to cancellations and accounting adjustments stemming from the pandemic-shattered aviation industry.
“Through the global pandemic, we took meaningful steps to adapt to our new market, transform our business and deliver for our commercial, defence, space and services customers in 2020,” Boeing chief financial officer Greg Smith says. “The resumption of 737 Max deliveries in December was a key milestone as we strengthen safety and quality across our enterprise.”
The 4,223 jets remaining in Boeing’s backlog include 3,321 737s, eight 747s, 75 767s, 350 777s and 469 787s.
In December, the company delivered 39 jets, including 27 737 Max, one 737NG-based P-8 surveillance aircraft and 11 widebodies.
Customers that received Max in the month included American Airlines (10 jets), CIT Aerospace (four), Copa Airlines (one), Minsheng Financial Leasing (one), SMBC Aviation Capital (three) and United Airlines (eight).
The 11 widebodies delivered in December included one 747F to UPS, three 767Fs to FedEx, one 767F to UPS, two 767-based KC-46 tankers to military customers, three 777Fs to Qatar Airways and one 777F to China Airlines, Boeing says.
Boeing’s lack of 787 deliveries in December reflects ongoing inspections of the widebodies to ensure the jets meet Boeing’s quality standards, the company says. Those inspections centre on 787 fuselages.
Boeing received 90 new-aircraft orders in the final month of 2020. Those included 75 737 Max orders from UK discount carrier Ryanair, seven 737 Max from unidentified customers and eight 777Fs from DHL Express.
But during December, Boeing’s customers cancelled orders for 107 jets, among them 105 737 Max and two 787s.
The Max cancellations included 66 aircraft scrubbed by Aviation Capital Group, 21 cancelled by SMBC, seven nixed by CDB Aviation, six cut by Air Lease and five (including one Boeing Business Jet variant) cancelled by unidentified customers.
The two December 787 order cancellations came from Boeing Capital, the company says.
Boeing says the Max cancellations provide some benefit by helping it gain more flexibility with how it manages the programme backlog and delivery schedule, and by protecting values.
In all of 2020, Boeing lost 655 orders to cancellations and conversions, among them 641 737 Max cancellations. It also removed another 555 jets from its backlog to align with accounting standards. Boeing still holds orders for those 555 jets but has less certainty that customers will take deliveries.
Boeing took orders for 184 jets in 2020. But cancellations and accounting adjustments pushed its adjusted orders to negative 1,026 aircraft.
Story updated on 11 January to include 2020 delivery figures.