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Boeing delivers 22 jets in August, 737 MAX ‘white tails’ nearly gone By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX 8 sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight/File Photo

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By Eric M. Johnson and Tim Hepher

SEATTLE/PARIS (Reuters) -Boeing Co delivered 22 airplanes in August amid revived domestic travel and won orders for seven 787s in a respite for a program hobbled by industrial defects and a halt in deliveries.

The closely watched monthly snapshot comes as Boeing (NYSE:) tries to recoup billions of dollars in lost sales from the coronavirus pandemic, and move beyond a safety scandal caused by two fatal 737 MAX crashes.

Of the 22 jetliners delivered last month, 14 were 737 MAX passenger jets and two were P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

The remaining six jets were widebodies, including three KC-46 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

For the year to date, Boeing has delivered 206 aircraft.

European rival Airbus delivered 40 jets in August to reach 384 since the start of the year.

Through August, Boeing had delivered 169 of its best-selling 737 MAX jets since that aircraft returned to service in late 2020 following a nearly two-year safety ban.

Crucially, Boeing has virtually eliminated a stockpile of up to 200 unwanted jets known in the industry as “white tails,” left by the MAX crisis, according to industry sources.

But it is grappling with structural defects in its bigger 787, which have caused it to cut production and halt deliveries.

Boeing nonetheless struck an optimistic note with higher industry forecasts on Tuesday, citing a recovery in domestic markets, although international travel remains depressed and coronavirus variants pose potentially new risks.

Boeing said it received orders for 53 aircraft in August, including 35 MAX and 18 widebody aircraft.

Those include 11 777 freighters – one for FedEx Corp (NYSE:) and 10 more from a buyer or buyers Boeing declined to identify.

Total orders for August, after cancellations and conversions, stood at 23.

That brings orders for the year so far to 683 or 280 after cancellations, ahead of Airbus’ net total of 132.

INDIAN DEAL

Industry sources said Boeing is close to winning an order for some 70-100 737 MAX jets from India’s Akasa, a budget startup founded by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, pending separate talks on a long-term engine service deal.

But it remains in a dispute with Irish budget airline Ryanair, one of its biggest customers, over the pricing of a potential order for up to 250 MAX jets as demand for new airliners picks up in Europe.

Ryanair says it is not prepared to bow to Boeing’s pricing demands amid uncertainty over COVID-19 trends and suspended talks last week.

Market sources say Boeing has signalled more confidence on prices after securing orders from United Airlines and others, and after finding homes for all but 20 of the “white tails”.

European sources accuse Boeing of slashing prices aggressively to win deals, a charge it denies.

Asked on Tuesday about supplies of MAX jets, Stephen Jones, chief executive of Flair Airlines, told Reuters in Montreal, “I think it has tightened up quite a lot.” The airline secured MAX jets at what he called a “great price” in March.


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