Boeing customers swap grounded MAX for Airbus

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com November 13, 2019 11:09

Boeing customers swap grounded MAX for Airbus

Boeing has seen some of its customers swap grounded 737 MAX planes in favour of those made by its European rival Airbus as doubts still occur regarding the MAX’s re-entry into service.

The US planemaker’s orders for the year so far stand at 45 at the end of October, down from the 56 reported in September.

This is a stark contrast to Airbus’ month of October, described as a “landmark month for the company in terms of new business”, with orders logged for 415 new commercial aircraft.

One of Boeing’s biggest customers, Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has indicated that it will convert 15 of its MAX orders into five 787 Dreamliners. ALC, which had 135 outstanding orders for the 737 MAX as of October, down from 150 orders in September, has said the conversion reflected greater demand from airline customers for the 787 in future years. 

During the 10 months of 2019 through to October, Boeing deliveries fell nearly 50% to 321 aircraft, compared with a near 11% increase in Airbus’ deliveries to 648 jets, during the same period. 

Boeing’s orders have sagged behind Airbus, as its European rivals could be set to overtake Boeing as the world’s biggest planemaker for the first time in eight years due to the prolonged 737 Max grounding. 

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 billions of dollars in charges. 

Costs for the 737 MAX have risen by $900 million in the third quarter, in addition to the $2.7 billion in extra costs it announced earlier this year.

During the Q3 2019 results, Boeing reiterated that it still expects the MAX to get approval from regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly again before the end of the year.

However, US carriers American and Southwest Airlines have pushed back intended re-entry of service for the Boeing 737 MAX jets until March 2020. 

American Airlines had previously said that it expected the aircraft to return to service in January, but its new guidance has said the grounding will continue until 4 March. 

The airline anticipates cancelling “approximately 140 flights” per day. 

In a statement, American said it “remains in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation and Boeing. Based on the latest guidance, American anticipates that the resumption of scheduled commercial service on American’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will occur March 5, 2020. 

“Once the aircraft is certified, American expects to run exhibition flights, or flights for American team members and invited guests only, prior to March 5.” 

Meanwhile, Southwest, the Max’s biggest customer with 34 in addition to 41 that were expected to be delivered this year, is removing the planes from flight schedules from February 8 to March 6, 2020. 

Southwest is cancelling about 175 daily flights during the period because of the aircraft’s grounding, the company said.

It’s said that both airlines have accounted for nearly $1 billion in losses from the grounding of the airplanes.

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com November 13, 2019 11:09