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Seattle, Washington - In March 2020, Boeing had the largest aircraft cancellations in decades as airlines begin to adapt their fleets to the present uncertainty surrounding the airline industry.

Customers around the world dropped orders for 150 Boeing aircraft last month. The American plane maker announced that it had downgraded the status of some existing orders due to the vulnerable financial situation of its customers. Besides that, the drastic slowdown in air travel delayed the return of 737 MAX jets as well.

Airbus also suffers similar problems. Both manufacturers have almost 13000 jet orders on their backlogs. They already had to cut their production rates due to the collapse in the global airline industry.

More order cancellations are expected in the coming days as more and more airlines rely on government support to survive. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global passenger traffic would shrink by 55% compared to the previous year. Only a limited recovery in some domestic markets is expected in the third quarter of the year.

March cancellations prevent Boeing 737 MAX customers from serious penalties since the agreements allow companies to walk away if plane deliveries are a year late. The order cancellations were for Boeing's troubled 737 MAX series. The company did not lose any order for its wide-body jets. Boeing ended the quarter with 5,049 firm orders.

The ongoing grounding of the 737 MAX jets after two deadly crashes caused the manufacturer to solely rely on wide-body sales. The US aerospace giant delivered 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, three Boeing 777s, and two Boeing 767 freighters in March.

Boeing secured orders for a dozen 787s from the Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways and a single 767 freighter from cargo operator FedEx Corp.

Its European rival Airbus delivered 36 aircraft in March, 55 aircraft less than the previous month. It registered firm orders for 21 aircraft after 15 cancellations. Airbus cut its production rate by about a third in response to the current crisis.

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