By Valerie Insinna
WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Boeing said on Tuesday it delivered 27 airplanes in January, which was down 29% from the same month last year as regulators, lawmakers and customers pressured the planemaker following a MAX 9 mid-air cabin panel blowout last month.
Deliveries of the profit-making 737 MAX fell to just 25 aircraft after two solid months where Boeing delivered in excess of 40 MAXs. While deliveries tend to be slower in January, Boeing delivered 38 airplanes, including 35 MAXs, in January 2023.
The U.S. planemaker booked three gross orders, its lowest total since 2019, after a blockbuster December. It said customers it did not identify canceled orders for two 737 MAX while Spanish carrier Air Europa canceled an order for one 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing's European rival Airbus delivered 30 jets in January and reported 31 new orders.
Boeing has been scrambling to explain and strengthen its safety procedures after a Jan. 5 accident involving a door plug on a brand new Alaska Airlines MAX 9 that became detached during flight. In response, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded the MAX 9 for several weeks last month and has capped Boeing's production of the MAX while it conducts an audit of the planemaker's manufacturing process.
This month, Boeing supplier Spirit Aerosystems discovered a. Spirit incorrectly drilled holes on the window frames of some 737s, potentially slowing deliveries of about 50 planes.
Aside from the 737 MAX deliveries, Boeing delivered one 787 Dreamliner and one widebody 767, which be modified into a KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force.
Boeing's backlog decreased from 5,626 to 5,599 aircraft as of Jan. 31. It has a total of 6,189 unfilled orders when accounting adjustments are not considered.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in a Jan. 31earnings callthat the company would not issue aircraft delivery targets for 2024 as it works through the current crisis.
"We will simply focus on every next airplane and ensuring we meet all the standards that we have, all the standards that our regulator has and that our customers demand," he said.
Plane manufacturers typically deliver around the same number of aircraft produced in a given month, yet Boeing has dozens of 737s and 787s that were put in storage due to the MAX crisis in 2018-2019 or need rework to correct production defects. Boeing executives have said the company plans to deliver most of those inventory jets by end of 2024.
(Reporting by Valerie Insinna; Editing by David Gregorio)
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