737 MAX: Cleared to Fly, but Can Boeing Sell It?
On Wednesday, the FAA formally recertified the Boeing (NYSE: BA) 737 MAX for commercial service. After being grounded for more than 20 months, Boeing’s top-selling model can finally take to the skies again, once airlines complete necessary maintenance work and pilot training.
However, the ungrounding of the 737 MAX doesn’t mean Boeing can expect smooth sailing ahead. Now, it must confront an even tougher task: selling the 737 MAX despite an unprecedented aviation industry downturn.
As of Oct. 31, Boeing reported a backlog of 3,365 firm orders for the 737 MAX. While that’s down from a peak of more than 4,700 firm orders two years ago, it’s still a sizable backlog. After all, 737 family deliveries peaked in 2018 at 580 units. Boeing’s current 737 MAX order book is equivalent to nearly six years of production at that rate. As a result, many bulls are confident that Boeing’s business will be back to normal within a few years.