Boeing reported a 37% drop in deliveries for the first half of the year due to the prolonged grounding of its best-selling MAX jets which further pushed it closer to losing the title of being the world’s biggest planemaker.
Boeing deliveries lagged those of Airbus SE, which handed over 389 planes in the same period, up 28% from a year earlier. For the first time in eight years, numbers show that Boeing’s full-year deliveries are likely to fall behind its European rival Airbus.
A new problem identified with the grounded MAX jets last month has delayed the aircraft’s entry into service until at least the end of September, disrupting schedules for airline operators and possibly adding to costs for Boeing.
To cope with the fallout after the grounding, Boeing has slowed production to 42 MAX jets per month from 52 earlier, causing the planemaker to take a $1 billion charge in the first quarter.
Deliveries of the MAX aircraft were stopped in March after an Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people on board. Since then, Boeing has not reported any new order for the MAX planes.
Several analysts have lowered their full-year 2019 delivery estimates for the MAX, and many do not expect the aircraft to be handed over to customers before December.
The American planemaker’s net orders for the first six months were in the negative territory, with a total of minus 119 net orders, lagging Airbus which won 88 net orders between January and June.
A few airlines have shown confidence in the MAX since the fatal crash, with British Airways-owner IAG last month signing a letter of intent to order 200 versions of the aircraft.