Following today’s (Wednesday 3 June) news that SMBC Aviation Capital is deferring 68 Boeing 737 MAX deliveries, Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation:
“The deferral of 68 Boeing 737 MAX from leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital is another blow for Boeing, adding to a long list since the grounding of the aircraft last year after two successive crashes and more recently the COVID-19 outbreak. The company is still formally planning on a return to flight this year for the fuel-efficient version of its bestselling narrow-body, but the fact that another client has decided to postpone deliveries will further hinder the aircraft’s chance of bouncing back. The Boeing 737 MAX is now standing at -281 orders net of cancellations for the year and the collapse of air travel related to the COVID-19 outbreak is set to last for years. SMBC deferred deliveries to 2025 at least – a reasonable timeframe to assess the long-term impact of the pandemic.
“Boeing has long been overly optimistic regarding the future of the MAX. It is now clear that the pandemic is not the sole cause of the MAX’s troubles, as companies such as Air Canada or Air Lease Corporation cancelled orders in massive proportions earlier this year without even directly invoking COVID-19 disruptions. Airbus decided in the meantime to cut the production of its rival model, the A320neo, by 40%, more than for the A330 and A350 (-30% both). The collapse of oil prices since the OPEC-Russia spat also relativizes the importance of fuel-efficient engines, and an increasing number of airlines and leasing companies such as SMBC are attempting to slim down their fleets. All things considered, the Boeing 737 MAX appears like a target of choice in a time of extreme uncertainty for airlines and leasing companies trying to cut dead weight.”