Boeing Order Book Falls Below 5,000


For the first time in seven years, orders for Boeing’s commercial aircraft fell below 5,000 units, the company announced today. With previous cancellations related to the coronavirus and continuing issues with the 737 MAX, Boeing also recognized that many of the orders were for companies unlikely to be financially strong enough to actually take delivery. By employing a revised accounting standard, Boeing erased a total of 480 orders from the books, with 427 of those the 737, four for the 747, 20 for the 777, and 29 for the 787. The backlog is now at 4,834, with almost 3,900 of those 737 models, which Boeing expects to return to production this month.

But that’s not the whole of it. Boeing has been suffering contract cancellations and deferrals throughout the first quarter of 2020. According to data reported today, Boeing has lost 304 sales through “contractual changes,” with 299 of those involving the 737 family alone. Boeing’s order book is not made to look more encouraging by the new sales through the end of April, just 49 aircraft, led by 29 orders for the 787. Through that same time period, Boeing delivered just 56 commercial aircraft, led by the 787 (33 units), 767 (10) and 777 (7). The 737 MAX has been grounded for 14 months with no clear sign when it will be cleared to fly again, and a likely long ramp up before the mothballed airframes can be put into service. Of course, with travel demand down to around 10 percent of its previous levels, few airlines are eager to add to their fleets. 

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. The future has caught up with Dave Calhoun, the bean counter from Chicago, who is as responsible as any Boeing Director over the last 5-7 years for the demise of Boeing.

    Having juiced the stock price to $350 and blowing $45bn on buybacks at that price, David Calhoun now is looking at a shareprice of $150 and a loss to Boeing of approx $25bn on those stock purchases.

    But no worries, he and his pals have taken off with the cash, leaving Boeing with cap in hand desperately trying to borrow cash at any price, and 400 737s designed by bean counters which are inherently unstable and too dangerous to fly in.

    There lies the remains of a great company. Maybe it can be great again, but those recent Directors and ex CEO Denis Dennis Muilenburg have done Boeing a generational disservice.

    • It’s was the Jack Welch crony, Muilenburg, who leverage up the company, and left it just as insolvent as GE.. Destroying another Great American company with cheap money printed from the Fed..

  2. “…a loss to Boeing of approx $25bn on those stock purchases. But no worries, he and his pals have taken off with the cash…”

    Okay, Andy. Let’s play “forensic accounting.” What evidence can you find that Dave Calhoun and/or any of his “pals” have absconded with $25 billion in cash? Your comment is both irresponsible and slanderous. Shame on you.

    • Well, I’m not sure if Andy’s numbers are exactly correct, but I wholeheartedly agree with the gist of his comment. Sadly, Mr. Calhoun has been acting like most CEO’s of large US corporations, and has concerned himself with nothing else aside form increasing the company’s stock prices – and little else. Everything else is expendable as long as he is providing returns to himself and all of the other major stock holders. And the frustrating part is that they can ruin a company like Boeing, and walk away with their golden parachutes while the average worker – well, you know how that story ends. 🙁

    • He’s clearly NOT saying they took off with $25B in cash. He’s saying they used financial tricks to boost their own short term positions and hollowed out the company in the process, something that is both scientifically true and pretty common in whatever remains of US industry at this point. Shame on you for overreacting to his reasonable comment.

      • Direct quotation:
        “He and his pals have taken off with the cash.”
        What he ACTUALLY said is quite clear to anyone who can read.

      • YARS is right about what the wording tries to say. In “He and his pals have taken off with the cash.”, the word “the” was a poor choice. Grammatically, the word “the” refers to something in the previous paragraph, most reasonably “approx $25bn on those stock purchases”. But the “approx $25bn” is a loss, not a pile of cash available for taking off with. So, the word “the” is a reference without a target. It makes @AndyM’s meaning muddy. If @AndyM had said “their” instead, the wording would have been safer from the nitpickers. At least that is this software engineer’s view. Maybe an editor would have a more authoritative evaluation.

        • Exactly. Since there never was a $25 billion pile of cash, NO ONE could have “taken off with it.” Thus my challenge to conduct some forensic accounting.
          IMWO, condemning slander does not comprise picking nits. Andy’s comments are beyond the pale.