Boeing is still aiming to construct 31 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft each month in early 2022. The American aerospace giant is currently building low-levels of 737 MAX aircraft, given the backlog of aircraft that built up during the type’s grounding.
It’s been almost half a year since the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded. Despite an electrical hiccup leading to a new grounding for select aircraft, the type’s return to service seems to be going well. So far, 21 airlines from all corners of the globe have reactivated the type, with more set to join the party soon.
Slowly increasing production rate
When the Boeing 737 MAX was first grounded over two years ago, nobody quite knew how long it would go on. Initially expecting a relatively short grounding, Boeing pushed on with business as usual as far as building the type was concerned. No deliveries were able to take place while the grounding was ongoing.
As the grounding dragged on, Boeing’s collection of undelivered aircraft grew and grew and grew. As of last November, it was estimated that the collection had grown to some 450 undelivered aircraft. Boeing did eventually halt production in January 2020, with assembly activities resuming in May of that year.
Currently, the focus for Boeing is to deliver the aircraft that it has already built. 85 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have already been delivered since the grounding was lifted. However, the company is placing an increasing emphasis on new aircraft construction.
While production levels are currently low, Boeing hopes to be making 31 jets a month by early 2022. Boeing said that it would continue to assess its production rate, with market conditions and customer discussions in mind.
Return making good progress
According to data from Boeing, the 737 MAX seems to be making a generally good return to service. Since returning to service, 26,000 revenue MAX flights have taken place. GOL became the first operator to resume flights 140 days ago, meaning 185 MAX flights have been operated each day since, on average. Of course, the number of flights is growing each day, so more recently, far more than 185 flights will have been operated.
As of April 26th, 2021, the 21 customers that have so far resumed MAX flights have completed 58,500 flight hours with the type. This is only revenue hours and doesn’t include maintenance and return to service flights. This number will only rise as Ryanair gears up to receive its first MAX jet in May.
Orders for the type have shown positive growth too. In Q1 of 2021, the manufacturer clocked some fairly hefty MAX orders, leading to net positive orders for the first time since late 2019. Southwest Airlines was most notable with an order for 100 jets. Meanwhile, United Airlines ordered 25, and Alaska Airlines ordered 23. Since Q1 ended, we’ve already seen further MAX orders placed.
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