The last time it delivered so few planes was nearly 50 years ago, in the aftermath of the Boeing Bust.
A devastating 2020 for Boeing production ended in December with a small lift for its workforce producing 737 MAX jets in Renton but another blow to those building 787 Dreamliners in Everett and North Charleston, South Carolina.
After the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ungrounded the 737 MAX in mid-November, Boeing managed to deliver 27 of the jets out of Renton in December, the first deliveries since the second MAX crash in March 2019.
For the second month in a row, however, Boeing in December delivered zero 787s.
After a bad 2019, when Boeing was unable to deliver the 737 MAX from early March, last year proved much worse.
The MAX remained grounded until close to the end of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic’s paralysis of air travel forced Boeing to cut production of all the other jets.
Manufacturing flaws that showed up in the 787 last year completed the misery.
Engineers and mechanics are still struggling to inspect for and fix manufacturing-quality defects that potentially weaken the fuselages of 787s that have piled up outside the factories in Everett and North Charleston.
In a statement Tuesday, Boeing chief financial officer and executive vice president Greg Smith said the inspections “represent our focus on safety, quality and transparency” and are intended to ensure the long-term health of the 787 program.
The 787 and the MAX should have been the two highest-volume production programs.
Boeing’s 2020 jet order and delivery figures, released Tuesday morning, reveal the damage.
The U.S. aerospace leader delivered just 157 jets last year, down from 380 jets delivered the previous year and from a record 806 jets delivered in 2018, the last year before Boeing’s world collapsed.