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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Boeing delivers fewest jets since pandemic on 737 Max slowdown

Boeing employees work on the 737 MAX on the final assembly line at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, plant on June 15, 2022.  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times/TNS)
By Julie Johnsson Washington Post

Boeing Co. delivered 24 commercial jets in April, its lowest monthly tally since February 2022, as the planemaker slowed production of its workhorse 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner widebody to focus on improving quality.

The U.S. planemaker handed over 16 737 Max narrowbody jets along with four Dreamliners, two 767 freighters and two 777 freighters last month, Boeing said on its website. The company also logged seven gross orders and 33 cancellations in April.

Boeing executives have cautioned that factory output will be stop-and-start in the first half of 2024 as the company works to strengthen inspections for defects and perform more work in sequence. The company is also grappling with supplier shortages, including seats and heat exchangers for the 787.

The company has been under intense scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers and customers after an airborne 737 Max suffered a structural failure in January.

Boeing is facing multiple audits and investigations into its production quality and safety, prompting changes.

As of March 1, Boeing stopped accepting 737 fuselages that have missing parts or incomplete work from key supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc.

While shipments from Spirit have nose-dived in the short term, both companies say the production tempo will pick up during the third quarter.

“That’s why it’s slow and lumpy here in these couple of months, but we will be through that process within the next 60 days,” Boeing Chief Executive Office Dave Calhoun said last month about the low output.

Boeing has delivered 107 aircraft through the end of April, down from 156 in the same period in 2023.

Calhoun has made a priority of clearing Boeing’s inventory of hundreds of already-built jets, particularly those earmarked for Chinese airlines as well as Air India. Deliveries to those two countries accounted for just under half of the 737 handovers in April, according to the data.

The U.S. planemaker has booked 138 gross orders this year, and 100 orders net of cancellations and conversions.

The scrapped orders for April included 29 Max aircraft that had been ordered by Lynx Air, the defunct Canadian low-cost carrier.