By Tim Hepher
(Reuters) – Boeing jetliner deliveries fell to a five-month low of 26 airplanes in July, highlighting pressure on global supply chains as it prepares to resume deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner.
The U.S. planemaker said monthly deliveries included 23 737 MAX jets and three wide-body freighters, bringing MAX deliveries so far this year to 212 jets and total deliveries to 242.
The figures do not include the imminent resumption of 787 Dreamliner deliveries after a year-long suspension over production issues.
Shares of Boeing fell as much as 1.7% before paring losses to trade about flat.
The U.S. government on Monday approved the first 787 delivery since May 2021, people briefed on the matter said.
July’s Boeing data does, however, underscore industrial snags testing the aerospace industry after Airbus reported lower July deliveries on Monday.
At roughly half the 51 handovers seen in the previous month, Boeing’s July deliveries suffered the sharpest sequential drop since before the 737 MAX was cleared to return to service in December 2020, following a safety grounding.
GRAPHIC: Slowing down (https://graphics.reuters.com/BOEING-DELIVERIES/lgpdwynwkvo/chart.png)
Deliveries have nonetheless fluctuated significantly this year and June had seen a sharp swing towards the upside.
Chief Financial Officer Brian West anticipated a “light” July when he outlined three worries for the 737 during earnings last week: supply chains, delays in getting planes out of storage and an effective freeze on deliveries to China.
He told analysts that Boeing would not fully make up for lower-than-expected first-half deliveries in the second half and added: “We’ll continue to experience monthly variability”.
GRAPHIC:Tepid July (https://graphics.reuters.com/BOEING-DELIVERIES/xmvjomrojpr/chart.png)
Boeing, meanwhile, saw a surge of new business in July as it officially booked orders announced at the Farnborough Airshow, where it focused on shoring up the 737 MAX 10, as the aircraft faces uncertainty over a certification deadline.
Boeing confirmed orders for a total of 125 MAX from Delta Air Lines and Qatar Airways as well as two 777 freighters for Air Canada. It added fresh orders for two MAX from American Airlines and a 777 freighter from FedEx.
That brings Boeing’s gross orders to 130 airplanes for July and 416 for the year so far.
After cancellations of four planes in July, Boeing posted core net orders of 126 planes in July and 312 for the year to date.
Airbus earlier reported comparable year-to-date net orders of 656 airplanes after a major deal with China.
GRAPHIC: Airbus widens delivery lead (https://graphics.reuters.com/BOEING-DELIVERIES/gdvzyodylpw/chart.png)
After further accounting adjustments, Boeing said it had reached adjusted net orders of 362 planes so far this year.
The adjustments reflect a more positive view on some outstanding contracts as travel demand returns.
Boeing restored a net total of 31 planes to its normal operational backlog in July after they had previously been set aside in a category reserved for jets unlikely to be delivered.
Airbus carries out similar quality adjustments to its backlog annually rather than monthly, and logs them in terms of value rather than volume, so a comparison is not available.
GRAPHIC: Airbus pulls ahead owing to China orders (https://graphics.reuters.com/BOEING-DELIVERIES/lgvdwynkkpo/chart.png)
Boeing has sold a total of 5,206 jets that are still waiting for delivery in coming years, or 4,370 after including the accounting adjustments for planes seen unlikely to be delivered.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher Additional reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram and David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Potter and Krishna Chandra Eluri)