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Boeing 737 deliveries slump after Max grounding

Boeing cuts production of 737 Max
  • Deliveries of Boeing's 737 plane have fallen sharply after the newest version of the aircraft was grounded following the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
  • Boeing said it delivered 149 commercial airplanes in the first quarter, down 35 from 184 deliveries in the same period a year ago.
  • Regulators around the world grounded the Boeing jets after two deadly crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people.  

Dallas — Deliveries of Boeing's best-selling jet tumbled after the newest version of the plane was grounded around the world following two deadly crashes. The aviation giant said Tuesday that it delivered 149 commercial airplanes, including 89 737s, in the first quarter. In the same period last year, the company delivered 184 planes, including 132 737s.

The company did not disclose how many of the 737s were the Max version that was grounded last month. Boeing is still producing an earlier model, but the Max is expected to account for a very high percentage of 737 deliveries this year.

Boeing suspended deliveries in mid-March, and last week announced that it will cut production of the 737 from 52 a month to 42 a month starting in mid-April.

Separately on Tuesday, American Airlines cut a key revenue estimate after canceling 1,200 flights in the first quarter due to the grounding of its 24 Max jets.

A faulty trigger system 

Regulators around the world grounded the plane last month after an Ethiopian Airlines Max crashed less than five months after a Lion Air Max plunged into the sea off the coast of Indonesia. In all, 346 people died.

Boeing has acknowledged that in each crash, a faulty sensor triggered an anti-stall system when it wasn't needed, pushing the plane's nose down. Pilots on each flight fought unsuccessfully to regain control, according to flight data retrieved from the planes.

Boeing is working on a software update that its CEO says will fix the problem, but the update was delayed recently by several weeks because of the discovery of a second software problem. Boeing hasn't described the second issue but says it is not related to the anti-stall system.

Shares of Boeing fell over 1.5 percent in early afternoon trading.  

Airline carriers grounding flights 

Meanwhile, airlines that own the nearly 400 Max jets are canceling flights.

American Airlines, the world's biggest carrier, said that it can't predict the future financial harm from the plane's grounding until it knows how long the jets will be parked and the circumstances under which they will be allowed to fly again.

Boeing admits flight control system was likely factor in two crashes that killed 346

Over the weekend, American removed the plane from its schedule through June 5 — six weeks longer than before — underlining the realization among airlines that the Max will be parked longer than previously expected.

American says revenue for each seat flown one mile will be flat to up 1 percent, down from its initial forecast of flat to up 2 percent.

American also blamed the government shutdown and 940 cancellations due to faulty work by a contractor on the interiors of several other Boeing planes.