Key points:

  • Boeing seeks to deliver most of its remaining 200 undelivered 737 Max jets and 50 787 Dreamliners by year-end.

  • China's recent approval of 737 Max deliveries and resolving 787 production issues boost optimism.

  • Delivering Max 7 and 10 variants awaits FAA certification, potentially delayed by engine anti-ice system redesign.

200 Max, 50 Dreamliners: Boeing Eyes Inventory Clearance by 2024 End

Boeing is accelerating its delivery pace to clear its inventory of undelivered jets, aiming to hand over most of the remaining 200 737 Max and 50 787 Dreamliners by the end of 2024. This ambitious target hinges on several factors, including ramping up deliveries to Chinese customers and resolving production issues affecting the 787 program.

The company has made significant progress in reducing its stockpile, whittling down the 737 Max inventory from a peak of 450 aircraft built during the grounding and pandemic downturn. Chief financial officer Brian West attributed the latest decrease to about 200 jets to efforts like delivering 25 jets produced in 2023 despite minor "disruptions".

China Deliveries Key, Max 7/10 Await FAA Nod

A crucial aspect of Boeing's plan involves resuming deliveries to China, a major market for the 737 Max. The recent Chinese regulatory approval for deliveries, following a three-year pause after the second Max crash, opens a significant avenue for clearing inventory. West indicated that "the vast majority" of the remaining 140 pre-2023 Max 8s are destined for Chinese and Indian customers.

However, delivering the Max 7 and 10 variants remains contingent on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, which could be delayed by up to a year due to a required redesign of the engine anti-ice system.

Clearing 787 Backlog, Production Ramp-Up in Sight

Boeing also faces the challenge of delivering its 50 undelivered 787 Dreamliners, all requiring rework due to quality issues encountered during the pandemic and production hiccups. Despite this, the company maintains its target of delivering all 50 this year and ramping up production to 10 aircraft per month by 2025 or 2026, doubling the current rate.

"We expect... to liquidate a lot of [787] inventory," West declared, emphasizing the program's health and robust order backlog.

Looking Ahead: Balancing Priorities, Navigating Regulatory Hurdles

While Boeing expresses confidence in clearing its inventory by year-end, achieving this goal necessitates successfully navigating several challenges. Successfully delivering a large number of Max jets to China hinges on maintaining smooth regulatory approvals and operational readiness. Additionally, resolving the Max 7/10 certification hurdle and ramping up 787 production necessitate efficient solutions and close collaboration with regulatory authorities.

Boeing's ability to overcome these hurdles and achieve its inventory clearance target will be closely watched by investors, analysts, and the wider aviation industry. Success in this endeavor could pave the way for a more stable and predictable production outlook for the company in the coming years.