SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — On Sept. 15, Boeing announced that the company would look for new customers for Boeing 737 MAX jets that were intended for Chinese carriers. Boeing cannot deliver those planes to Chinese airline operators because China's civil aviation regulator has not yet cleared the aircraft to return to service.

With this move, the American planemaker aims to reduce its undelivered B737 MAX Boeing inventory, which built up after the type was globally grounded around the world after two deadly crashes.

However, Boeing's decision risks losing the company's biggest single-aisle market once. The manufacturer had 290 undelivered 737 MAX jets in inventory as of June 30, with about half of them intended for Chinese operators.

In December 2021, China's civil aviation regulator took some steps to clear the type to return to China's skies, but it has not taken the final steps to re-certify the aircraft.

"We have deferred decisions on those planes for a long time. We can't defer that decision forever," 

Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said yesterday.

"So we will begin to re-market some of those airplanes that were otherwise earmarked for our Chinese customers."

Deliveries rose in August as Boeing resumed 787 handovers

On the other hand, Boeing's commercial aircraft deliveries rose in August to 35 airplanes as the U.S. airframer resumed handovers of its 787 Dreamliner after a 15-month delay over the quality issues.

Boeing said monthly deliveries included 27 737 MAX jets, two 787s, and five freighters. This raised the total MAX deliveries this year to 240 jets and overall deliveries to 277 through August. Boeing deliveries in July had fallen to a five-month low of 26 airplanes, highlighting the pressure on global supply chains.

On Tuesday, Boeing reported 30 new orders, including 13 737 MAX jets.
Boeing in August delivered its first 787s since May 2021, a 787-9 to German flag carrier Lufthansa and a 787-10 to Dutch flag carrier KLM. But two 787s for American Airlines that were "contractually delivered" in August were not yet booked as delivered because Boeing is performing some pre-scheduled post-delivery customization.