Through the month of April 2020, two major customers scaled down their Boeing 737 MAX orders by 108 planes. The manufacturer’s backlog has shrunk to under 5000 aircraft for the first time in seven years.
The main driving force behind the shrinking MAX order book became leasing and finance companies that reconsidered their massive aircraft purchases. At the end of March, GECAS, the Irish–American commercial aviation financing and leasing company, held an order for 611 Boeing 737 aircraft, of which 151 were unfilled. In April, the company trimmed its appetite by 69 planes, leaving 82 to be delivered in the future.
Another major blow to Boeing came from China Development Bank, which downsized its total order from 106 to 77 MAXs, leaving 48 aircraft to be delivered. Further 10 planes were canceled by an unidentified customer(s).
In total, Boeing’s backlog has already shrunk by 516 aircraft this year to 4,834. The changes mainly affect the 737 program and around half of the changes were attributed to the ASC 606 changes. It is understood that these were previously held by airlines whose credit is no longer deemed as reliable.