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Boeing has lost more than 800 orders for the 737 Max this year

Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

This offer was revealed in a lawsuit filing at the end of May. Russian cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr, which earlier this year had canceled orders for a 747-8 freighter and three 777 freighters, sued Boeing for refusing to let it take back the cancellation and instead offering two of the 777 jets to another customer.

That customer wasn't named in the lawsuit filings, but its identity was revealed when one of the 777 freighters in question flew a test flight out of Everett, Wash., painted in the livery of China Cargo Airlines, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based China Eastern.

A filing in the lawsuit includes a formal "credit memo" for the two 777Fs that made the discounts conditional on an agreement to also purchase 777Xs and 787s "no later than June 30, 2020."

In refusing Volga-Dnepr's wish to come back in from the cold and instead wooing China Eastern, Boeing sales chief Ihssane Mounir was clearly reaching for a big win and a significant morale boost. There have been precious few widebody jet sales this year, and no direct, identified orders from Chinese airlines since 2017.

That Mounir failed to close the 777X/787 deal by the deadline in the memo doesn't mean it won't happen. Negotiations will likely continue. It may or may not come to fruition later, with the outcome crucially dependent on the state of U.S.-China relations.

Boeing deliveries in June consisted of three military aircraft -- two P-8 Navy sub-hunters and one KC-46 Air Force tanker -- plus four widebody freighters (a 747 for UPS and two 767s and a 777 for FedEx) as well as three 787 Dreamliners.

All three 787s were delivered from Boeing's North Charleston, S.C., plant, not from the 787 line in Everett. Two were 787-10s for British Airways and the third was a 787-9 for Westjet of Canada.

 

With the shrinking of the 737 Max order book, Boeing's official backlog now stands at 4,552 airplanes. The Airbus backlog stands at 7,584 airplanes.

The backlogs of both manufacturers are likely to shrink more in the year ahead as the impact of the pandemic continues to devastate airline finances worldwide.

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