Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot has formally canceled an order for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners valued at about $5.5 billion. This adds to the pressure on Boeing due to the grounding of 737 MAX jets after two recent crashes.
The cancelation was not announced by either side but was buried in Boeing’s monthly order release.
According to Reuters’ sources, the US plane maker faces the growing possibility that it may have to cut production back by 2022 as the grounding of its popular 737 MAX stretches into its eighth month.
One of the sources said Boeing has dozens of unsold or potentially vacant 787 positions on its production line in 2022. The actual number of unfilled production slots depends on assessments about the ability of airlines to take delivery as promised, which plane makers keep confidential.
Statistics showed demand for the narrow-body aircraft that dominate most fleets remains strong. Meanwhile, demand for larger, long-haul aircraft like the 787 and Airbus A330 and A350 has weakened.
Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said last month the company was closely tracking “macro risk areas.” He added Boeing had reserved slots on its 777 and 787 production lines for Chinese orders that have been held back by the trade war.
“There is dependency there on Chinese orders ultimately coming through,” Muilenburg said.
Some suppliers were surprised by his comments as plane makers typically raise output only after selling aircraft rather than opening the taps in hopes of winning orders later.
Company data shows Boeing officially booked a previously announced order from Air New Zealand for eight 787-10s, which is the largest Dreamliner model.
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