In December 2020, Boeing managed to deliver just 51 aircraft, its lowest number since the late 1970s. Not only was this number down 60% compared to December 2019, but it was less than one-third the number of aircraft delivered by its rival, Airbus.
In total, the U.S. planemaker delivered 39 planes to customers in December, including 27 737 MAX jets, one P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, and 11 widebodies. Noticeably absent from this list of deliveries was the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which, for the second month in succession, failed to deliver any units owing to ongoing problems over production flaws and intensive inspections.
According to Reuters news agency, for 2020, Boeing delivered a total of 157 airplanes, down from 380 in 2019 and a record 806 jets in 2018. In comparison, Airbus posted stronger-than-expected numbers with 566 jets delivered in 2020, though this figure was down 34% compared to 2019 delivery numbers.
Boeing’s order numbers began to look a little more healthy after Ryanair handed the company a lifeline for the 737 MAX with an order for 75 of the 737 variant that had remained grounded for 20 months after two fatal crashes. Boeing also booked orders for seven MAX jets from unidentified buyers in December, and for eight 777 freighters from the courier arm of Deutsche Post AG DHL Express. However, for 2020, orders for 641 of the 737 MAX were canceled, while Boeing removed a further 523 of the jets from the order backlog as these were seen as unlikely to be fulfilled once stricter accounting standards are applied.