Boeing pushes delivery of first 777X plane to 2025, increases 737 Max production

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | April 27, 2022

Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 9 seconds.

In its first quarter 2022 financial report, published on April 27, Boeing said it now expects delivery of the first 777-9 airplane to take place in 2025.

While CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement that the 777-9 program is “progressing well in development and testing,” the new 2025 timeline is based on “an updated assessment of the time required to meet certification requirements.”

Boeing’s 777-9 made its first flight on Jan. 25, 2020. Boeing Photo

The 777X was first introduced in 2013, and Boeing received some 300 orders for the new generation of the 777 family during the years that followed. However, after numerous problems and delays, the first prototype did not conduct its first flight until January 2020. 

Boeing was previously expecting the aircraft to achieve certification towards the end of 2023, with the first delivery to follow shortly thereafter.

Now that more time is required for certification, Boeing has decided to temporarily pause 777-9 production through 2023 to “minimize inventory and the number of airplanes requiring change incorporation,” said Calhoun.

Moreover, the production adjustment will allow the OEM to add 777 freighter capacity starting in late 2023. (Boeing launched its 777-8 Freighter program in late January 2022 with partner Qatar Airways – in response to growing cargo demand.)

“We remain confident in the 777 program and our customers continue to see the value in its compelling economics and sustainability benefits,” said Calhoun.

Looking at the 737 Max program – which suffered major setbacks in recent years following a global grounding of the fleet after two fatal crashes – Calhoun confirmed that the Max is now approved to fly in nearly every country, and the fleet has safely flown more than one million flight hours since late 2020.

The program has made a comeback, and has a strong presence in Canada where nearly every domestic airline operates 737 Max planes – with some expecting additional Max deliveries in the coming years.

In the first quarter of 2022, Boeing delivered a total of 81 737 Max aircraft, including 34 in March alone. As such, the company is steadily increasing Max production, and is on track to reach a rate of 31 aircraft per month in Q2 2022.

Boeing also confirmed in its financial results report that it has submitted the 787 Dreamliner certification plan to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Deliveries of the type have been suspended since May 2021 due to manufacturing issues. Recently, in February 2022, the FAA announced that it wants final sign-off on every 787 aircraft before delivery to customers. 

“We completed the required work on initial [787] airplanes and are conducting Boeing check flights,” said Calhoun. “We will continue to give our teams the time they need, engage transparently, and follow the lead of our regulator on next steps and timing.”

Nearly every Canadian airline has 737 Max planes in its fleet – with some expecting additional Max deliveries in the coming years. Flair Photo

The company said 787 production is currently at a very low rate and will continue to be until deliveries resume — with an expected gradual return to five aircraft per month. 

In its first quarter 2022 results, Boeing reported a net loss of $1.2 billion, compared to a net loss of $561 million in Q1 2021. The company’s first-quarter 2022 revenue of $14 billion (down from $15 billion in Q1 2021) was driven by “lower defense volume and charges on fixed-price defense development programs, partially offset by commercial services volume.”

Calhoun noted: “Through our first-quarter results, you’ll see we still have more work to do. But I remain encouraged with our trajectory.”

Although 787 deliveries have been suspended, Boeing delivered a total of 95 commercial airplanes in the first quarter – up from 77 commercial aircraft deliveries in Q1 2021.

Calhoun said despite the pressures on Boeing’s defense and commercial development programs, “we remain on track to generate positive cash flow for 2022; we’re focused on our performance as we work through certification requirements and mature several key programs to production.”

See Boeing’s full Q1 2022 financial report here.

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