The company reported that it delivered 39 jets to customers in December — and deliveries are important because that’s when Boeing gets most of the money owed for a plane.
That comparatively stellar December delivery figure brought Boeing’s total 2020 deliveries to only 157, the lowest figure for the aircraft maker and its predecessor companies since 1977.
But it’s not just the 737 Max problem that hit the company’s deliveries in 2020.
“As we continue navigating through the pandemic, we’re working closely with our global customers and monitoring the slow international traffic recovery to align supply with market demand,” said Boeing CFO Greg Smith. “In 2021, we’ll continue taking the right actions to enhance our safety culture, preserve liquidity and transform our business for the future.”
But that boon was more than balanced out by 107 earlier orders that were canceled during the month, mostly for the Max.
For all of 2020, orders for 184 jets were more than wiped out by 655 canceled orders, the biggest hit to its order book that the Boeing has ever suffered.
The company also said it is no longer confident enough about 555 existing orders to still count them in its backlog, either because of its airline customer’s financial condition or because the airline has started discussions of canceling an order.
But even with the canceled and now-uncertain orders, Boeing managed to end the year with an order backlog of 4,223 planes.