Boeing 737 Delivery Pace Picks Up; Remains Behind 2022 Target

Boeing 737 MAX 7
Credit: Boeing

Deliveries of Boeing 737 MAXs edged out production in March with 34 official hand-overs against estimates of 31 new-aircraft rollouts. 

The slight imbalance reduced Boeing’s on-hand inventory of 737 MAXs, but the burn-down rate is still well behind what company executives discussed in January when providing an outlook for 2022. Boeing’s tentative target for the year is 500 737 MAX deliveries, or about 41 per month. March’s activity pushed total deliveries for the year to 81. 

The company accumulated about 460 737 MAXs during a 21-month delivery pause while the model was grounded. Since re-starting deliveries in December 2020, Boeing has handed over 353 737 MAXs. Aviation Week’s Fleet Discovery shows that 229 of them were built before December 2020. March’s deliveries included 16 from the stored inventory, and 18 rolled out since the delivery re-start, Fleet Discovery shows. The figures leave about 230 in the stored inventory. 

The target of 500 deliveries in 2022 is part of a plan to have most of the stored inventory cleared by the end of 2023, Boeing executives have said. That translates into delivering 11-12 stored aircraft per month on top of the current production rate. 

While Boeing will not confirm its current 737 program production activity, several factors suggest the company has reached its latest stated target of 31 per month. Sources with knowledge of the company’s activity confirmed to Aviation Week that Boeing rolled out 31 737 MAX aircraft in March.  

While the figure could signify a temporary level resulting from tests inked to the planned rate increase, it aligns with Boeing’s statement in a recent regulatory filing that its flight-test program supports a total target production rate of 39 aircraft across all programs. The filing did not break down the rate by aircraft family, but the sources confirmed that it includes 31 737 MAXs. The company’s last confirmed 737 program production rate was 26 per month in January

Boeing’s March deliveries also included three P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, one 737-700 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), two 767-300 freighters to FedEx Express, one 777 freighter to China Airlines, and one KC-46 to the U.S. Air Force. 

Gross orders totaled 53, including 14 737 MAXs and one 737 MAX BBJ for unidentified customers. Boeing booked 15 cancellations, including 11 737 MAXs by an unidentified customer and one by lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG). Three 787-9s were also canceled: one each by Air China and lessors Avolon and CIT. 

Orders for two Russian carriers―34 737 MAXs for UTAir and six 777Fs for Volga-Dnepr―remain on the books, despite sanctions prompted by the war in Ukraine that prohibit Western sales and support of aircraft to Russian entities. However, they are believed to be part of a reclassification of deals into Boeing’s ASC 606 accounting category, which signifies firm orders that are at risk of not being fulfilled.  

Boeing’s March moves included shifting 152 orders into ASC 606―138 737s, eight 777s, and six 787s. It also re-classified deals for eight 737s and three 787s out of the category and back into its official backlog. Boeing does not identify customers in its ASC 606 category.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.


1 Comment
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