Boeing 737 MAX Inventory Wind-Down Pace Remains Sluggish

Boeing is reducing its 737 MAX inventory slower than it hoped to.
Credit: B.O'Kane / Alamy Stock Photo

Boeing’s May deliveries continued several recent trends, including an emphasis of new-production 737 MAXs over those from its stored inventory and an overall total that is below long-term targets for wiping out its on-hand backlog.

The company reported 29 total 737 MAX deliveries for May. Aviation Week Fleet Discovery figures show seven were built in 2019, while the rest rolled out in either 2021 or 2022, or after the model’s 21-month delivery pause ended in December 2020. Counting last month’s activity, Boeing has delivered 250 737 MAXs from the batch of about 460 pre-December 2020 roll-outs that had built up during the pause.

Boeing has been eyeing the end of 2023 as a notional target for clearing out the stored inventory. That requires delivering 35-40 aircraft per month, including about 11 from storage plus a total equivalent to its monthly production rate, which currently sits somewhere between 25 and 30.

The company has not surpassed 40 737 MAX deliveries in any single month since the December 2020 restart and has topped 30 deliveries just three times. Total deliveries in 2022 so far number 138—an average of about 28 per month. Deliveries from inventory have fallen from 16 in March to 11 in April and then into single digits in May.

Other May activity included a sale-leaseback transaction that saw India’s Akasa Air cancel five 737 MAX orders and Bain Capital Griffin book them as new orders. Norwegian also canceled four 787-9s. The majority of Boeing’s 23 gross orders for the month came from Lufthansa Group, which committed to 16 widebodies: seven 787-9s, two 777Fs and seven 777-8Fs. Rounding out the orders, American Airlines purchased one 737 MAX and Eva Air one 777F.

Deliveries totaled 35, including the 737 MAXs, three 777Fs, one 747-8F, one P-8 and one KC-46.

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
The image at the top of the article gives the impression that the stored 737 Max backlog is made up of aircraft which have been sold to airlines but await delivery. One would have thought that these would have been shipped by now.
It would be interesting to know now many of the remaining two hundred and ten 737 Maxs in storage are "white tails" (there is only one in the image above). This would represent a far larger problem for Boeing if many of them are.