Boeing order cancellations outpace new sales for sixth straight month as demand continues to fall

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An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, March 21, 2019.

Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

Boeing customers canceled plans to buy 43 of the manufacturer’s troubled 737 Max planes in July as scrapped orders outpaced sales for a sixth consecutive month, the company said Tuesday.

Shares of the manufacturer eased from the day’s highs but were still trading up nearly 4% after Boeing released the monthly data.

Boeing last month said it would cut production targets for some of its aircraft including the 737 Max and the 787 Dreamliner as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt demand for new planes.

This year through July, Boeing has net negative orders of 836 planes, including aircraft the company took out of its backlog of orders awaiting fulfillment. Boeing routinely removes orders from its running tally when customers are financially strained, among other reasons. The July adjustments trimmed the Chicago-based plane maker’s backlog to 4,496 orders.

Most of the 737 Max cancellations were from aircraft leasing companies.

The company delivered four airplanes in July, including a 767 freighter and a 777 freighter as well as two 787 Dreamliners.

The pandemic adds to Boeing’s troubles since the March 2019 grounding of the 737 Max in the wake of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The Federal Aviation Administration is getting closer to allowing the planes to fly again but the company has yet to win final approval.

CEO Dave Calhoun told CNBC late last month that he was “hopeful” aircraft demand would start to recover in the second half of 2021.

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