Boeing says plane deliveries increased amid 737 Max woes

TMI Newsdesk
3 Min Read

A Boeing building

A Boeing building
Photo: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Boeing just got a sliver of daylight amid a year of storm clouds. The plane maker announced Tuesday that it had delivered 93 commercial airliners in the second quarter, an improvement of more than 10%. Although the company is pleading guilty to fraud charges related to a pair of deadly plane crashes last decade and remains unable to bring its CST-100 Starliner home from space, a positive development is a positive development.

There wasn’t any commentary accompanying the update, but it’s notable that there was a slight uptick in the number of 737 Max planes sent off to customers: 70 this quarter vs. 67 last quarter. The plane is by far the biggest part of Boeing’s order backlog, but after a door plug blew out mid-flight on an Alaska Airlines-operated 737 Max 9 earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed sharp cuts in production speed. Airline executives have become increasingly vocal about how long it is taking to get Boeing planes, a long-term problem that only became exacerbated by the FAA’s constraints.

Even more remarkable was that the deliveries increased despite a holdup in China, which reduced the frequency of Boeing imports earlier this year. The Chinese government briefly paused 787 Dreamliners over concerns about lithium-ion batteries in the planes’ cockpit voice recorders, and Bloomberg reports that it is still keeping 737 Max planes at bay. But this bit of good news doesn’t mean that Boeing is out of the woods yet. This time last year it delivered 136 jetliners to customers, and in the last quarter before the door plug blowout, it had gotten that number up to 157.

The company will likely have more to say about where its production and delivery numbers are headed when it releases earnings later this month. Deutsche Bank analyst Scott Deuschle wrote in a note to clients Monday that there’s a cause for just a hint of optimism: “We expect management to offer some increased clarity in its 2024 [free cash flow] outlook, which given the China delivery restart headlines and 737 delivery momentum could ultimately net out to be notionally better than consensus.”

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