Boeing Deliveries Fall
Boeing August plane deliveries plunge 22%
Boeing Co.'s commercial jet deliveries tumbled 22 percent in August, as weaker demand for air travel forces airlines to scale back plans to buy new planes.
The Chicago-based airplane maker also said orders fell 11 percent compared with the same month last year.
Still, Boeing says it remains on track to deliver a projected 480 to 485 planes this year, up from 375 in 2008.
Boeing has struggled with lower demand amid the economic slowdown, which has hurt its airline customers. It also has grappled with costly production problems related to its new 787, a lightweight plane built for fuel efficiency.
Repeated delays have put the 787 more than two years behind schedule. Boeing says it plans to conduct the first test flight of the plane by year's end and book a $2.5 billion charge for three of the test planes, which lack commercial value.
Days after announcing the latest 787 schedule, Boeing said on Monday that Scott Carson was stepping down as head of its commercial airplane division and would be succeeded the following day by Jim Albaugh, the head of its defense business.
According to figures posted online Thursday, Boeing delivered 28 planes last month, down from 36 during the same month last year. Boeing, which receives payments when planes are delivered, has gotten a number of deferral requests and some cancellations from customers.
The deliveries consisted largely of single-aisle 737s, Boeing's strongest-selling model, as well as a smaller number of 777s.
The company received 32 orders in August, down from 36 in August 2008, reflecting continuing difficulties for airline customers.
Airlines have reported a drop in travel demand as bad as the falloff after Sept. 11, 2001. Fares are down sharply on a per-mile basis. Yields for domestic flights fell 12.9 percent through July, according to the Air Transport Association trade group. Yields on flights across the Atlantic are down 19.5 percent.
The nine biggest U.S. carriers lost nearly $600 million in the second quarter, and bigger losses are predicted in the third and fourth quarters.
Despite weaker demand for Boeing's commercial jets, the company has a record backlog of orders and operates a defense business that accounts for about half its overall revenue.
The 787 is by far Boeing's best-selling new plane to date. The company has garnered 850 orders for the plane, though that includes 73 cancellations so far this year.
During the week ended Sept. 1, Boeing received 11 new orders for 737 planes, including three from Turkmenistan Airlines and eight from unidentified customers. But orders for two 777s were canceled.
Boeing executives have said the company expects to hit its target of 480 to 485 planes delivered this year. Customers, meanwhile, have requested deferrals for dozens of planes slated for delivery in 2010-11.
In the first eight months of the year, Boeing delivered 307 airplanes, down slightly from 313 during the same period a year earlier. But orders for new planes plunged to 161 from 556 in the year-earlier period.
Boeing is the world's second-largest commercial plane maker after France-based Airbus.