Increased quality inspections cut Boeing deliveries in half in March.

Boeing reported on Tuesday that it had delivered 29 planes in March, down from 64 a year ago. The 737 MAX output fell due to enhanced quality inspections and audits by regulators, which contributed to the decline.  

Following the 737 MAX 9 plane's mid-air door plug explosion on January 5th, which prompted regulators to step up their inspection of the US planemaker, Boeing announced it is cutting production of MAX single-aisle jets in an effort to enhance manufacturing quality.  

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set a monthly ceiling of 38 jets, and according to Reuters, Boeing's production rate dropped into the single digits in late March, much below this limit.  

According to Boeing, the number of airplanes delivered to customers decreased from 130 in the first quarter of 2023 to 83 in the first three months of 2024, with 66 MAX jets being among them.  

"We're deliberately going to slow to get this right," said Boeing CFO Brian West at a Bank of America conference last month. "We are the ones who made the decision to constrain rates on the 737 program below 38 per month until we feel like we're ready."  

According to Boeing, eight MAX planes were delivered to Chinese airlines in March. January saw the return of MAX deliveries to China. In the first quarter of 2024, Reuters reported citing industry sources that Boeing's European competitor Airbus delivered 142 aircraft, an increase of 12% compared to the same period in the previous year.  

A purchase of 85 737 MAX 10 planes by American Airlines—which also placed orders with Airbus and Embraer—boosted Boeing's March order total to 113, the company announced on Tuesday. The total number of gross orders received by Boeing this year is 131.  

There were 126 orders posted by Boeing since the beginning of 2024 after cancellations and conversions were removed. Boeing has recorded 125 aircraft in adjusted net orders this year, after additional accounting changes to reflect the quality of the backlog.  

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