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Boeing’s quarterly airplane deliveries drop to 83 amid safety crisis

Reported by CNBC: 

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are pictured outside a Boeing factory on March 25, 2024 in Renton, Washington. 

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing airplane deliveries dropped in the first quarter to the lowest number since mid-2021 as the company faces increased scrutiny after a door plug blew out from one of its 737 Max 9 planes midair in January.

The company handed over 83 planes in the three months ended March 31, most of them 737s, compared with 157 in the prior quarter and 130 planes in the year-earlier period. Solely in March, Boeing delivered 29 planes.

Boeing customers are still ordering new jets from the manufacturer, which along with Airbus dominates the large jetliner market. The company logged orders for 111 for new planes last month when stripping out two cancellations, 85 of them 737 Max aircraft for American Airlines, which the carrier announced in early March.

The latest tally comes after the Jan. 5 accident on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 brought Boeing inches from a catastrophe. Federal accident investigators said the door plug was missing bolts that hold it in place. Since the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration has inspected Boeing’s 737 Max production and barred the plane maker from increasing output of the jets until it signs off on its quality control procedures.

Boeing executives have said the company is slowing down its production to improve quality control and avoid so-called traveled work, when repairs or other tasks occur out of sequence.

“We won’t rush or go too fast,” Boeing CFO Brian West said at a Bank of America conference last month. “In fact, we’re deliberately going to slow to get this right. And we are the ones who made the decision to constrain rates on the 737 program below 38 per month until we feel like we’re ready. And we’ll feel the impact of that over the next several months.”

Aircraft delivery delays sparked criticism from the CEOs of some of Boeing’s biggest airline customers, and in its wake, CEO Dave Calhoun last month announced he will step down by year’s end. Boeing also replaced its board chair and the head of its commercial airplane unit.

Alaska Airlines said last week it received $160 million in compensation from Boeing in the first quarter stemming from a brief grounding of the plane after the accident.

Boeing is scheduled to report first-quarter results and update investors on April 24.

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