By Dominic Gates / The Seattle Times
In January, Boeing won no new airplane orders and delivered just 13 jets.
While January is typically a very slow month for both Airbus and Boeing as they take a breath after the always-frenetic pace of jet orders and deliveries at the end of the year, this opening month for 2020 — in the midst of the 737 Max crisis — is a new low.
Airbus by comparison had a big order month, winning net orders for 274 commercial aircraft. The European jetmaker also delivered 31 aircraft, a typically low January output, though it looks large compared to Boeing’s figure.
The Airbus sales tally included two big orders from the U.S.
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines ordered 100 of the A320neo family that competes directly with the 737.
And the influential Los Angeles-based lessor Air Lease Corp. ordered 102 aircraft, including 50 A220-300s, the former Canadian CSeries jet that Boeing tried unsuccessfully to block from sales in the U.S. Also in the order were 27 A321XLRs, the new long-range version of the A321neo that is building sales in the “middle of the market” segment where Boeing has pulled back on its plan to launch a new airplane.
Airbus won a net total of 117 orders for the A321neo in January.
Last year in January, Boeing won orders for 45 commercial jets. In the past 25 years, going back to the merger with McDonnell Douglas, Boeing has never had zero orders in January.
It came closest to zero in 2013, with just a single order placed that January for two 737s. Boeing may take solace from the fact that 2013, despite that slow start, turned out to be a boom year for orders. The company ended that year with 1,355 net orders, still the second highest tally in the company’s history.
The parallel collapse in Boeing deliveries last month is entirely due to the grounding of the 737 Max. Boeing is barred from delivering that jet and by mid-month had suspended further production of the airplane.
Beyond the Max, Boeing in January delivered two of the last remaining older model 737 NGs in its backlog and a P-8 military 737 for the Navy, as well as two 767s, both destined to become Air Force tankers, two 777s, and six 787 Dreamliners.
Last year in January, Boeing delivered 46 commercial jets, including 34 of its 737s, two 767s, two 777s and eight 787 Dreamliners.