Boeing falls behind with plane supplies as Airbus picks up speed

A plane flies over a sign on Boeing's 737 delivery centre at Boeing Field in Seattle, Oct. 19, 2015.
A plane flies over a sign on Boeing's 737 delivery centre at Boeing Field in Seattle, Oct. 19, 2015. Copyright Ted S. Warren/AP.
Copyright Ted S. Warren/AP.
By Eleanor Butler
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Aircraft deliveries from Boeing fall to their lowest level since mid-2021 while Airbus records a quarterly jump for the same period.


Plane manufacturer Boeing delivered just 83 planes in the first three months of this year, compared with a total of 130 put out for the same period of 2023.

In March alone, the company delivered 29 aircraft, a slight increase on the 27 planes sent out in each of the first two months of 2024.

The drop in output is reflective of the safety crisis currently afflicting Boeing.

Since a cabin panel blew off one of the company's 737 MAX 9 planes in January, the manufacturer has been under pressure to improve the quality of its aircraft.

"We're deliberately going to slow to get this right," Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West told a Bank of America conference last month.

"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."

Following the blowout incident, the US Federal Aviation Administration blocked Boeing from expanding production of the 737 MAX, although the firm is operating below the regulatory cap of 38 jets per month.

Recent delivery figures nonetheless show the continued importance of the model as, out of the 83 commercial planes delivered this last quarter, 67 were 737s.

Also on Tuesday, Boeing's European competitor Airbus announced delivery figures.

Airbus sent out 142 jet deliveries in the first three months of 2024, a 12% jump over the year.

Airbus also confirmed it had won 137 new orders in March, with no cancellations, compared with Boeing's new order total of 113, with two cancellations.

The latter figure includes 85 of the Max 10 aircraft for American Airlines, eight 777X passenger jets for Ethiopian Airlines and 20 of the 777X jets for an undisclosed customer.

The fact that fresh demand for Boeing planes has not fallen further can partly be explained by a travel boom and a wider shortage of aircraft.

Supply chain challenges are presently holding back production at both Boeing and Airbus, and carriers are being forced to cut down schedules due to a lack of planes.

According to the International Air Transport Association, some 40 million flights are set to carry a record 4.7 billion people in 2024, up from 4.5 billion people in 2019.

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