Boeing cuts MAX 8 production by 19%

April FrancisApr 12, 2019

In this Monday, April 8, 2019, file photo, a worker looks up at a parked Boeing 737 Max 8 built for Jet Airways as another 737 Max 8 made for Shenzhen Airlines stands behind at a Boeing Co. production facility in Renton, Wash.

Total orders, an indication of future demand, fell to 95 aircraft in the first quarter from 180 a year earlier, suggesting a wait-and-watch approach for airlines as Boeing rides out the worst crisis in its history.

Ninety-six Boeing 737 Max aircraft have been grounded in China and the country was the first to take the aircraft off commercial flights following the two crashes.

Boeing has conceded that new software added to the MAX and called MCAS was involved in both crashes but questions have also been raised about the actions of the flight crews.

The company said yesterday that it had delivered 149 commercial aircraft in the first three months of the year, down from 238 in the preceding three months and 184 in the first quarter of 2018.

Boeing said at the weekend it is cutting production of its 737 jetliner for the first time since the September 11 attacks in NY as the plane maker works to limit financial damage from the global grounding of its newest and best-selling aircraft model.

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It is still unclear when the MAX jets will fly again, with global regulators including China saying they would join a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration panel to review the aircraft's safety.

The figures on March orders and deliveries are "secondary to getting the Max fix approved and its grounding lifted", Cowen aircraft analyst Cai von Rumohr said.

In October, a 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on a domestic flight, killing all 189 on board.

Orders and deliveries of Boeing's 737 Max plunged in the first quarter as the plane was grounded around the world following a second deadly crash.

Boeing said last week it would cut monthly 737 MAX production by 20 percent starting mid-April, without giving an end-date.

March deliveries are more than half the rate of deliveries in the two previous months, which amounted to 24 MAX jets in January and 27 in February.

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