Boeing reports more 737 Max cancellations as airlines prepare to return the plane to service
- Boeing's backlog again declined as customers canceled more 737 Max planes.
- Airlines are readying the planes for commercial service again after a 20-month grounding.
- The coronavirus pandemic has hurt demand for new planes.
Boeing on Tuesday said it logged more cancellations than orders for its 737 Max plane last month, just as carriers are preparing to return the jets to service following two deadly crashes.
U.S. and Brazilian officials last month cleared the planes to fly again after a 20-month grounding after crashes of nearly new Max jets in 2018 and 2019 that killed all 346 people on the two flights.
Boeing said customers including Virgin Australia and lessor Air Lease canceled orders for 88 Max planes. Virgin Australia, however, changed its order to include 25 of the 737 Max 10, a larger model, which it expects will be delivered starting in mid-2023.
Brazilian carrier Gol is set to become the first airline to fly the Max commercially again since they were grounded. The airline, one of the largest Max customers with 95 planes on order, plans to start Max flights Wednesday from its Sao Paulo hub, it said late Monday.
American Airlines is on track to become the first U.S. carrier to resume commercial Max flights on Dec. 29. The first route will be from Miami to New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Boeing's backlog in November stands at 4,240 planes down from 4,275 a month earlier.
The company said it delivered seven aircraft during the month, bringing its deliveries in the first 11 months of the year to 118 compared with 345 during the first 11 months of 2019.
The manufacturer and its chief rival Airbus have each been hit by the coronavirus crisis as many customers opt to defer deliveries or put off new purchases.