By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing deliveries of its best-selling 737 MAX fell to the lowest level since August 2021, as it continues to struggle with work needed to correct a manufacturing defect.
The largest U.S. planemaker said Tuesday overall deliveries fell to 27 in September, including 15 Boeing MAX 8 and 9 airplanes, the fourth-lowest month of MAX deliveries since deliveries resumed in December 2020 after a worldwide grounding following two MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.
Boeing is undergoing an extensive process used to inspect and fix thousands of misdrilled holes on the 737 MAX 8 aft pressure bulkhead.
The planemaker booked new orders in September for 224 planes and reported 10 cancellations. The new orders include 50 787s for United Airlines.
Investors closely watch delivery numbers, as airplane makers receive the majority of payment for an aircraft when it is transferred to customers.
Overall, Boeing has handed over 371 planes to customers during the first nine months of 2023, including 286 737s. By comparison, European rival Airbus has delivered 488 aircraft over the first eight months, including 55 in September.
Boeing’s gross orders since the start of January rose to 848 in September, or 724 net orders after factoring in cancellations and conversions. Airbus has booked 1,280 gross orders or 1,241 after cancellations.
Boeing’s commercial backlog increased from 4,971 to 5,172. Boeing said September was the first month since December 2019 that its official backlog surpassed 5,000.
Separately, Boeing is still awaiting certification of the smaller 737 MAX 7 from the Federal Aviation Administration that has been reviewing the plane for more than a year. The planemaker said in July the first delivery of the 737 MAX 7 had been delayed to 2024.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Tim Hepher; Editing by Nick Zieminski)