As delays mount, Boeing could lose one-third of 777X orders

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With the postponed delivery date, Boeing’s backlog for the 777X family could go down by as much as 159 aircraft, leaving it with 191 777Xs.

Boeing announced another delay of its all-new 777X jet on January 27, 2021. Due to the delivery date pushed back to 2023 from the previously set launch in 2022, Boeing customers have the right to walk away from sales contracts.

When announcing its Q4 2020 results, Boeing indicated that it would take a $6.5 billion pre-tax charge on the 777X program. The company also warned that cancellations, production cuts and flight-testing risks could bring additional losses. 

Boeing is making “prudent design modifications” to the 777X, including hardware changes to the actuator control electronics, in response to regulator expectations, said Boeing’s Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun.

Calhoun warned that recovery in the airline industry will not be speedy. “We expect it will take around three years for travel to return to the 2019 levels and a few years beyond that to return to our long-term growth trends,” he commented. With a slow recovery of international travel, Boeing pushed back the delivery of the long-haul 777X jet to 2023.

777X’s largest customer, Emirates Airlines, previously indicated the possibility to replace some of its 115 ordered 777Xs with the smaller Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Dubai-based carrier may reduce the order for the 777X if the contract with the manufacturer includes delivery date-related clauses.

As seen in the latest financial report, Boeing’s loss from operations climbed to $12.7 billion in 2020, up from nearly $2 billion the previous year. The company reported $11.9 billion of net loss, while in 2019 it was $636 million.


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