Boeing on Tuesday reported a plunge in annual plane deliveries and a diminished order backlog as it contended with dual crises caused by the 737 MAX grounding and the travel industry downturn brought about by Covid-19.
The aerospace giant, which has cut tens of thousands of jobs amid the struggles, delivered just 157 planes last year, down 59 percent from 2019.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
The company’s backlog at the end of 2020 stood at 4,223, down from nearly 5,900 planes at the end of 2018, when the airline industry was still in growth mode prior to Covid-19 and the MAX was still flying.
Airlines in 2020 canceled 641 orders for the MAX, which was cleared later that year to resume flights in the United States and some other markets following a 20-month grounding after two fatal crashes.
“Through the global pandemic, we took meaningful steps to adapt to our new market, transform our business and deliver for our commercial, defense, space and services customers in 2020,” said Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith, who called regulatory approval of the MAX to resume service as a “key milestone.”
“In 2021, we’ll continue taking the right actions to enhance our safety culture, preserve liquidity and transform our business for the future,” Smith said.