Boeing deliveries fall in July amid 737 supply chain hurdles

(Reuters) – Boeing delivered fewer airplanes in July than its European rival Airbus, as the U.S. planemaker continued to work through logistics and supply chain disruptions affecting its bestselling 737 narrowbody jet.

Boeing said Tuesday it delivered 43 aircraft in July, down from the 60 planes it delivered in June and more than 20 fewer planes than the 65 jets delivered by Airbus last month.

Narrowbody 737 MAX deliveries fell from 48 in June to 32 in July, marking the lowest level since April, when the company discovered that brackets had been incorrectly installed on the vertical tail of around 75% of the 737s in its inventory.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in July that ongoing rework to fix the bracket defect, a work stoppage at supplier Spirit AeroSystems, and a bridge collapse impacting railway deliveries of the 737 fuselage could “cost us a few deliveries” in the third quarter.

Boeing announced last month that it had begun ramping up 737 production from 31 jets to 38 jets per month, but Chief Financial Officer Brian West said it would take time to consistently deliver at that level.

In addition to the MAXs, Boeing in July delivered four 787 Dreamliners, three 767s, three 777 freighters and one Next-Generation 737 to be converted into a P-8 maritime patrol aircraft for the U.S. Navy.

The company booked 52 gross orders over the month, including a previously announced sale of 39 Dreamliners to Saudia, with no cancellations. Airbus booked 60 gross orders in July.

Boeing’s gross orders since the start of January rose to 579 in July, or 467 net orders after factoring cancellations and conversions and 659 net orders after accounting adjustments.

Overall, the Boeing’s commercial backlog increased from 4,879 to 4,928.

Rival Airbus booked 1,140 gross orders, or 1,101 after cancellations, through the end of July.

(Reporting by Valerie Insinna; Editing by Jamie Freed)