Boeing delivered just 28 commercial aircraft in the third quarter, for a total of just 98 year to date, roughly one-third of its 2019 volume, and down dramatically from its 2018 peak of 806 aircraft for the year. Over the third quarter, Airbus delivered 57 aircraft, which is also a substantially lower number than it managed last year.
“We continue to work closely with our customers around the globe, understanding their near-term and longer term fleet needs, aligning supply and demand while navigating the significant impact this global pandemic continues to have on our industry,” said Greg Smith, Boeing executive vice president of Enterprise Operations and chief financial officer. “We’re taking actions to resize, reshape and transform our business to preserve liquidity, adapt to the new market reality and ensure that we deliver the highest standards of safety and quality as we position our company to be more resilient for the long term. Our diverse portfolio, including our government services, defense and space programs, continues to provide some stability as we adapt and rebuild stronger for the other side of the pandemic.”
Boeing’s woes continue with a reduction in orders across the board but especially so in the beleaguered 737 MAX, which has lost more than 400 orders either through direct cancellation from purchasers or leasing firms, or because Boeing has determined that the financial health of some customers will not permit them to actually take possession of the contracted aircraft.
What’s more, a long-standing feud with the European Union over aviation subsidies bubbled over to a World Trade Organization ruling today that allows the European Union to impose some $4 billion in tariffs for “illegal subsidies” given to U.S. manufacturers. The decision centered on tax incentives, since repealed, given to Boeing by Washington state to retain manufacturing in the Puget Sound. This feud has been in progress for 16 years and has resulted in U.S. tariffs against Airbus.
All of this plays out as the federal government is focused on the upcoming election and unable to come to agreement for additional COVID-19-related financial aid to individuals and companies. A proposal by the White House to draft a more narrowly aimed bill to offer assistance to airlines has fallen off the radar in the last few days.