An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked on the runway at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, U.S., on March 21, 2019.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters
boeingBoeing's aircraft orders and deliveries fell in January as the company dealt with the fallout from a mid-flight explosion of a fuselage panel on one of its 737 Max 9s, an accident that overshadowed the manufacturer's strong finish to 2023.
The company delivered 27 planes last month, its lowest number since September, compared to 67 deliveries in December. It sold three Boeing 737 Max aircraft, but also recorded three cancellations.
Deliveries were roughly in line with what some analysts expected. The three gross orders come after a big December in which Boeing sold 371 planes.
Boeing's rival Airbus delivered 30 planes in January.
Boeing executives have been struggling to persuade airline customers, investors and regulators that they will find a more reliable footing after the Jan. 5 accident, when a door plug exploded in a Alaska Airlines flight at 16,000 feet shortly after leaving Portland, Oregon. No one was seriously injured on Flight 1282, but the violent detail tore off the headrests and exposed travelers to a gaping hole in row 26.
Bolts holding the unused exit door panel in place appeared to be missing from the fuselage piece, which had been removed and replaced at Boeing's 737 Max factory in Renton, Washington, the National Safety Board said. in Transportation in a preliminary report on February 6.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has pledged to review manufacturing processes at the company's facilities. The Federal Aviation Administration said it would pause Boeing's planned production increases until it is “satisfied that the quality control issues discovered during this process are resolved.”
“I'm glad they paused because it's a good excuse to take our time and do it right,” Calhoun said on a Jan. 31 earnings conference call.
The FAA is auditing Boeing production, and the agency's administrator, Mike Whitaker, told CNBC last month that it will keep “boots on the ground” at Boeing and conduct direct inspections of work there.
Whitaker will travel to the Renton plant this week.
Boeing's deliveries in January included three Max jets to Chinese customers, the first in about four years.