Boeing reported a total of 31 new orders in March, up 13 from the 18 in February. March and February are the only months so far this year to see new bookings with the total for 2020 to-date at 49. However, Boeing also reported that it has received 196 cancellations which brings the net for 2020 so far down 147. Between the woes associated with its 737 MAX aircraft and the onset of a period of high uncertainty for economic conditions, Boeing is getting relatively few orders and most of those are associated with defense aircraft.
The outlook for the rest of the year isn’t that great either since the global economy is at the start of a recession the depth and duration of which is yet to be estimated with any clarity. Some of the March orders may reflect completion of negotiations after the Singapore Airshow (February 11-16). The next two major airshows – Berlin and Farnborough – have been cancelled in light of the pandemic. All things considered, these may not have been a source of large new orders but it is two less chances for Boeing to make its case for its products and mend its reputation.
Nonetheless, an increase in aircraft orders in March means that the report on new orders for durable goods at 8:30 ET on Friday, April 24 should see the transportation component get a boost from the uptick in orders. On the other hand, unfilled orders for aircraft will contract a bit as aircraft other than the 737 MAX – which is on hold for now – are completed and some orders come off the books.
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