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Boeing sales remain stalled amid questions about plane safety

The Boeing 737 Max assembly line in a 2021 file photo. - Jason Redmond/Reuters

Boeing reported another weak month for new plane orders as it struggles to overcome questions about safety and production problems with its commercial jets.

The company reported it took orders for only four new jets in May, all for the 787 Dreamliner, and none for the troubled 737 Max.

That was down from even the modest orders of seven gross orders in April, and far below the order of 69 jets it reported in May 2023. So far this year it has taken gross orders for 142 jets, down 36% from the orders it took in the first five months of last year.

The company did receive an order for 85 of its planned 737 Max 10 in March from American Airlines, accounting for the majority of its orders so far this year. But that model of the plane has yet to be approved by the FAA to carry passengers.

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That order from American produced its only good month for sales since a 737 Max jet had a door plug blowout on a January 5 Alaska Airlines flight, raising questions about the safety of its manufacturing process, and prompting numerous federal probes. The FAA has placed limits on its rate of plane production as a result.

Orders for Boeing jets have fallen sharply, for the most part, from the strong sales it reported in 2023, including a monthly record for orders in December, due to airlines’ eagerness to expand their capacity to meet increased passenger travel demand.

The company’s deliveries to customers took an even bigger hit than orders in May. It delivered 24 jets in the month, matching the deliveries in April, but just less than half of the 50 planes it delivered in May of 2024. Year-to-date deliveries are down 36%. Deliveries are important to the company’s financial results, since most of the money it gets from the sale of a plane comes at the time of delivery.

Shares of Boeing, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, fell more than 3% on the report. Its shares are down about 30% so far this year.

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