Malaysia Airlines suspends Boeing 737 MAX jet deliveries

Ryanair easyjet Peter Bellew

Michael O’Leary previously said it may not be until October

That is a plunge of 53 percent from 2018. Without the stricter requirements, the company would have reported a 54-plane gain in net orders for 2019.

The carrier had been due to take delivery of its first 737 MAX in July 2020 but a year ago its chief executive said the introduction to service could slide beyond that.

General Electric is laying off 70 temporary employees at a jet engine factory in Quebec that builds power plants for both Boeing's grounded 737 Max and its chief rival, the Airbus A320neo. The 2019 delivery tally of 380 was particularly painful coming after a record pace of 806 deliveries in 2018.

Boeing said unidentified customers canceled orders for three 787-9s in December and another customer canceled an order for a 787-8.

The US aircraft maker said in a statement on Tuesday that it delivered 380 commercial planes to airlines worldwide a year ago. Airbus' A320neo, a more fuel-efficient upgrade of its single-aisle jetliner, was introduced before the Max and has benefited from the USA competitor's sidelining after two overseas crashes that killed everyone on board.

Planemakers receive most of their revenue when aircraft are delivered - minus accumulated progress payments - making final delivery crucial for their finances. Operators in the USA have been forced to juggle their schedules for months to compensate for the loss, CEO Dennis Muilenburg abruptly retired in December and supplier Spirit AeroSystems is laying off 2,800 workers. The firm reported a negative free cash flow of nearly 3 billion US dollars in the third quarter.

The company is still working to fix the MAX and there is little clarity on when Boeing is likely to get the green light from regulators to bring the airplane back into service, making analysts and investors jittery about the company's prospects in 2020.

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