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Boeing Records Decrease In Orders, Observes Increase In Air Cargo

The 777X on the taxiway. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

On Nov. 9, Boeing reported that deliveries fell to 27 aircraft in October, while Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners remained on the shelf. However, the prominent American aircraft manufacturer took advantage of robust air cargo demand by gaining an order for two Boeing 777 cargo freighters for Maersk’s Star Air.

The U.S. retracted a pandemic travel restriction on visitors from 33 countries on Monday, and international travel bookings are currently on the rise. Widebody aircraft deliveries have been halted for the better part of a year after Boeing revealed several production issues and required additional time to check its planes.

American and United are two carriers who have outstanding orders for the Dreamliner. Both airlines — keen to make up for two years of low demand for overseas travel — plan to increase international flights next year, owing to the pandemic and a slew of other limitations.

According to highly regarded corporate figures issued on Tuesday, October deliveries were down eight than September but up 14 than the same time last year.

Performance & Specifications

The 787 Dreamliner and the Boeing 737 MAX are critical to Boeing’s ability to recover from the pandemic and a safety controversy resulting from two tragic disasters. There were 18 737 MAXs delivered last month,  six of which were for European low-cost carrier Ryanair. Boeing also said it delivered two Boeing 737-800s — configured for business — to an undisclosed customer and two P-8 maritime patrol planes to the US Navy.

According to the aircraft manufacturer,  the remaining five planes were bigger widebodies with cargo capacity: a Boeing 747 freighter for United Parcel Service (UPS), a 777 and a Boeing 767 for FedEx, a 777 freighter for Taiwan’s EVA Airways and a 767-based tanker for the US Air Force. Many airlines were compelled to idle empty passenger planes during the pandemic while increasing demand for cargo capacity on specialized freighters at a time when e-commerce was a lifeline for many. Cargo aircraft and air freight capacity have been in high demand during the pandemic, amid supply chain issues and a loss of belly capacity from other passenger planes. 

Of the sales this year, 212 were for its 737 MAX, which returned to service in late 2020, after a near two-year safety ban. On the other hand, Boeing is still dealing with structural flaws with the larger 787 Dreamliner, which has forced it to reduce production and delay deliveries.

Last month, Boeing’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Calhoun told analysts, “We have a good line of sight to the phases ahead,” in regards to resuming deliveries for the 787 Dreamliner. In the absence of regulatory permissions, he did not provide a definite date.

Following cancellations and cases when a customer switched orders for one type of aircraft to another, Boeing sold seven aircraft in October. It had ten gross orders, including eight 737 MAX planes for an unnamed customer and two 777 freighters for Maersk’s Star Air. In October, Air Lease Corp canceled two Boeing 787-10 aircraft orders, while Aviation Capital Group canceled one 737 MAX purchase.

Boeing has delivered 268 aircraft so far this year, including 241 in September. In the first ten months of 2020, it delivered 111. This is considered a significant improvement.

Kalai Raajan


  • Kalai Raajan

    Kalai has always wanted to work in the aviation industry, having been fascinated by its inner workings since he was a child. In pursuit of his dream, he obtained a diploma in aviation management and is currently interning with a low-cost airline, under in-flight policies. In his free time, he loves to engage in recreational activities, and watch sports. In the upcoming years, Kalai intends to pursue his degree at a business school before working as an executive for a global airline around the world.

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