Aeroflot Russian Airlines has formally canceled its Boeing 787 order, further casting the future of Boeing’s Dreamliner program into uncertainty.
Boeing ramped up production of the Dreamliner earlier this year from 12 to 14 aircraft per month at two facilities (for a total of 28 planes per month). Without new orders, Boeing may be forced to cut production by 2022.
One insider, speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said that Boeing has dozens of unsold 787s scheduled for production in 2022. The precise number of slots is closely guarded and numbers can flucuate based upon an airlines’ decision to accept promised deliveries.
With Boeing still seeking a solution for its 737MAX program, the lull in demand and latest cancelled order for its 787 program paint an uncertain picture for the Seattle planemaker.
As far back as 2015, Aeroflot said it no longer needed any 787s (it opted for Airbus A350s instead), but the orders have remained on the books for the last four years. The cancellation was worth $5.5BN at list price, though analysts estimated Aeroflot had negotiated a 50% discount over retail pricing. Its order included 18 787-8s and 4 787-9s.
As noted by the Seattle Times:
Boeing now has a total order book of 1,450 Dreamliners through September, with 894 of those delivered. The 556 still to be delivered, split roughly 50:50 between the two production sites in Everett and in North Charleston, S.C., leave 40 months of work at the 14 jets per month rate.
That leaves Boeing on the hunt for new orders with a newfound sense of urgency.
Boeing is experiencing a difficult period. With lingering 737MAX issues, widespread cracking on its 737NG (Next Generation) models, a lull in 747 and 777 orders, and now a potential slowdown in 787 production, Boeing is scrambling to plug many holes at once.
image: Jetstar Airways / Wikimedia Commons