Boeing loses big order for 737 Max aircraft

A family member of an Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 plane crash victim mourns at the fenced-off

The airline is a low-priced subsidiary of Saudi Arabian flag carrier Saudia (SV/SVA) and was established in 2017.

Saudi Arabian airline Flyadeal reversed its plans to buy 50 of the 737 Max jets, announcing on Sunday that it will order up to 50 planes from Airbus' A320neo family - the Max's rival.

It was reconsidering the order after two MAX aircraft fatally crashed in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia in October. Virgin Australia has pushed back delivery of its first 737 Max jets by nearly two years.

Boeing had announced in December that the airline had committed to buying up to 50 Boeing 737 Max jets - a deal worth up to $5.9 billion at list price.

In fact, the uncertainty surrounding the return of 737 MAX to the skies has also prompted other carriers to amend their orders. Emirates, the world's largest long-haul carrier, has started using Airbus SE A380 superjumbos onto its shortest routes to replace lost capacity after sister carrier FlyDubai reduced services following the idling of its 14-strong Max fleet.

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Deliveries of the flyadeal aircraft are scheduled to begin in 2021, which will make the LCC an all-A320 operator.

Pilots with the Federal Aviation Administration discovered a new flaw last month while testing updated software in a flight simulator, pushed back Boeing's timetable. Boeing's order backlog stands at 4,425, according to its website.

"We understand that Flyadeal will not finalise its commitment to the 737 Max at this time given the airline's schedule requirements", Boeing told Bloomberg yesterday in an email.

The announcement comes on the heels of last month's Paris Air Show where Saudia signed a deal with Airbus for a total of 100 new aircraft. That fund is unrelated to any potential losses from lawsuits filed by the families of victims.

While the company's stock is still up more than 8% this year, shares have dropped more than 20% from their peak in early March, shortly before the second deadly accident involving a Max.

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