BY SANJANA SHIVDAS
(Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Tuesday it handed over 56% fewer airplanes in May compared with a year earlier, as deliveries of its top-selling 737 MAX jet remained suspended following a deadly crash in March.
Total deliveries fell to 30 planes, compared with 68 in 2018. Net orders for the first five months remained in negative territory, with a total of minus 125 net orders.
The company has been facing its worst ever crisis after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX plane crashed, killing all 157 people on board, in the second fatal accident involving the jet in just five months.
This is the last order and delivery update from Boeing before the Paris Airshow, which kicks off next week. European rival Airbus SE and Boeing are battling for wide-body aircraft orders worth well over $10 billion at the air show.
Boeing will also be under scrutiny at the airshow, where the planemaker will face questions about the 737 MAX groundings, deliveries and orders.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month disclosed a new problem involving Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX, saying that more than 300 of that troubled plane and the prior generation 737 may contain improperly manufactured parts and that the agency will require these parts to be quickly replaced.
Boeing reiterated on Sunday it was working with global regulators to certify a software update for the jet as well as related training and education material to safely return the plane to service.
Global airlines that had rushed to buy the fuel-efficient, longer-range aircraft have since canceled flights and scrambled to cover routes that were previously flown by the MAX.
Airbus delivered 81 aircraft in May, up 59% from last year and 313 in the January-May period, a rise of 40%.
Boeing shares were down 1.3% at $348.99 in morning trade.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas and Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel)