Boeing 737 Max cancellations soar again in dismal first half

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A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner takes off from Renton Municipal Airport near the company’s plant March 22, 2019 in Renton, Washington.Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing said Tuesday that its customers had canceled another 60 737 Max aircraft besieged by the company in June, capping a bleak first half for the automaker.This rocked Boeing’s net cancellations to 323 aircraft in the first six months of the year.

The Boeing 737 Max has been immobilized since March 2019 after two fatal accidents killed 346 people combined. Late last month, the Federal Aviation Administration began flight tests that would pave the way for aircraft recertification, but their review will take several more weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed an additional and broader challenge to Boeing as the demand for new aircraft dries up. Airlines are posting heavy losses and fighting to shrink rather than adding new planes and new routes.

Boeing’s order backlog fell to 4,552 for the aircraft, a count that included orders that the company periodically deletes due to customer financial problems or other factors. For many customers, it was easier to delete orders after the 737 Max had been grounded for more than 12 months.

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