Aircraft cancellations plague Boeing

EVERETT — The Boeing Co.’s order book shrank by nine jet requests as the company again amassed more cancellations than new orders for the week ending Oct. 6.

Boeing picked up an order for 11 of its single-aisle 737s from an unnamed customer but logged in cancellations for 20 aircraft. The company has a net total of 70 jets on order, which reflects 181 gross orders and 111 order cancellations.

All year Boeing has struggled to keep ahead of cancellations as airlines put off plans to replace older aircraft. Boeing also has exhausted some customers’ patience with delays to its popular 787 Dreamliner program.

Boeing officially logged another cancellation for 10 787s on Thursday. Late last month, Europe’s TUI Travel said it planned to reduce its Dreamliner order by 10. But that cancellation didn’t show up on Boeing’s books until this week. So far this year, Boeing has lost 83 orders for its Dreamliner, which is running more than two years behind schedule.

Boeing updates its order backlog weekly.

The company’s rival Airbus also recently updated its order tally through the end of September. The European company has won 123 net orders through Sept. 30. Airbus hasn’t been hit as hard as Boeing by jet cancellations, according to its Web site. The company has 149 gross orders and 26 order cancellations this year.

Boeing narrowly leads Airbus in jet deliveries through the end of September. The Chicago-based Boeing has turned over 359 aircraft to customers compared to Airbus’ 358. Despite cancellations and delivery deferrals from customers, both Boeing and Airbus say they’ll still meet their delivery goals in 2009.

But 2010 could be a different story for Boeing and Airbus. Boeing already announced it plans to scale back production on its twin-aisle 777 next year. And the president of EADS, Airbus’ parent company, recently told the Wall Street Journal that Airbus also may have to cut its production rates.

Boeing shares closed at $52.30, up 1 percent, on Thursday.

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