Boeing continues to struggle to sell and deliver planes in the wake of both the MAX 737 and the COVID-19 crises. The Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer recorded no jet sales in April and managed to deliver only 6 planes thanks to COVID-19 related factory shutdowns. That’s the lowest amount of planes delivered per month by the company since 2008, when an employee strike hampered operations.
In the year so far, Boeing has marked 540 cancellations compared to 24 orders, leading to a current net order total of -516. 521 of the cancellations were 737s, a category which includes the 737 MAX. The plane made headlines March 2019 for two high-profile crashes that saw the plane banned from the sky and the current CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, resign.
Boeing’s current CEO, Dave Calhoun, made it his stated first priority when he came into office to return the 737 to working order and the skies, and by doing so restore Boeing’s reputation. Roughly three months later, though, the coronavirus hit the United States and forced Boeing to close its Seattle-area production operations.
It’s not just assembly-line functions the coronavirus has hampered, though. Quarantine orders and travel advisories have caused demand for air travel to plummet, leading to many of the cancellations now being reported and depressing deliveries. In April, Calhoun announced the company would cut its entire workforce by 10% via voluntary layoffs, with “particularly exposed” parts of the company—like its commercial airline production segment—cut by more than 15%.
“Globally, commercial airline travel is expected to drop by $314 billion this year,” wrote Calhoun at the time.
The third coronavirus aid package from the government contained $17 billion in funding for “firms vital to maintaining national security.” The money was expected to go to Boeing, which is the largest aerospace manufacturer in the United States and produces planes for the military. But Calhoun has been resistant to overbearing conditions on aid, and announced publicly he would not take aid that involved the U.S. government receiving a stake in Boeing.