Boeing hasn't sold a single 737 Max in months, prolonging a drought as the company struggles to return the plane to service
- Boeing did not receive any orders of the 737 Max jet for a fourth straight month.
- The global grounding of the aircraft has entered its sixth month, following two fatal crashes evidently caused by a design flaw.
- Boeing has said it plans to submit a proposed fix to the FAA in September, and expects it to be approved by November.
- The airline did, however, record 31 orders of widebody jets for the month, an increase over the same month in 2018.
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Boeing has gone four straight months without receiving a single new order for its troubled 737 Max jets.
According to orders and delivery data posted by the planemaker, it received no orders in July, continuing a dry spell as the global grounding of the 737 Max entered its sixth month.Additionally, the company only delivered 19 planes overall in July 2019, down from 39 in July 2018. Two of those were older 737 models that are still being produced.
Boeing reported 31 total orders for the month, mostly larger wide-body planes, up from 25 orders the in July 2018.
Although British Airways' parent company IAG announced its intent to order 200 of the jet during June's Paris Air Show, the order has not yet been formalized.
The 737 Max has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes of the new model aircraft in about five months.
Preliminary reports into the two crashes - Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 - indicate that an automated system erroneously engaged and forced the planes' noses to point down due to a problem with the design of the system's software. Pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.The automated system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was designed to compensate for the fact that the 737 Max has larger engines than previous 737 generations. The larger engines could cause the plane's nose to tip upward, leading to a stall - in that situation, MCAS could automatically point the nose downward to negate the effect of the engine size.
The company cut production of the plane by 20% to 42 models a month in April. However, the jets produced since March have not been delivered and have been piling up in storage as Boeing prepares to submit a proposed fix to the FAA.
Notably, however, only one airline has cancelled an existing order for the jet. Boeing still has a backlog of about 4,550 unfulfilled orders, signifying a cautious confidence within the airline industry that once the grounding is lifted, the plane will be reliable. Analysts have said they expect orders to resume once the plane is flying again, and Boeing said it could ramp up production to 57 planes a month.
In July, Boeing said it plans to submit its proposed software fix to the FAA in September, and expects it to be approved - and the grounding to be lifted - in early November. Some airlines have expressed concern that the grounding will last into 2020.
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