With its 737 Max jet still grounded after two deadly crashes in the last year, Boeing’s delivery of new airliners has fallen far behind last year’s pace.
Boeing said Tuesday that it delivered 30 commercial airliners in May, a 56% drop from a year ago, when 68 jets were delivered. Deliveries of 737s dropped from 47 last year to just eight last month, all of which were an older model of the jet.
The Chicago-based company has 4,550 unfulfilled orders for the Max, but stopped deliveries after regulators around the world grounded the jets following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
In both crashes, pilots reportedly struggled against a computerized system that automatically pushes the plane’s nose down when it is at risk of stalling.
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MCAS, or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, was installed in the 737 Max to compensate for the aircraft’s tendency to point its nose upward due to because of heavier engines that were placed farther up on the wings.
Pilots for Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets wrestled to keep the planes in the air as the MCAS repeatedly switched on and pointed the jet’s nose toward the ground.
In the days following the Lion Air crash that killed all 189 people on board, an Ethiopian Airlines pilot pleaded with his bosses for more training on the Max, saying that one of its airliners could be the next to go down, a prediction that came true within weeks.
“We are asking for trouble,” pilot Bernd Kai von Hoesslin wrote in a December email obtained by The Associated Press, saying that if several alarms were to go off, “it will be a crash for sure.”
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The company says that it is working on changes to the software following the crashes.
Boeing also reported a canceled order for 71 Max planes that were to be leased to Jet Airways, a financially struggling Indian airline that suspended all flights in April. Boeing has not reported any other large cancellations following the Max’s grounding.
Orders for all Boeing airlines were “anemic” in May but should be better at next week’s Paris air show, according to Cowen Research aerospace analyst Cai von Rumohr.
Shares of Boeing have dropped 21% since early March, shortly before the second Max crash. The shares fell $4.47, or 1.3%, to close at $349.33 on Tuesday.
Contributing: The Associated Press.