SMBC defers 68 Boeing 737 Max orders but stops short of cancellations

Aircraft lessor becomes latest customer to put the brakes on jet deliveries amid coronavirus crisis
SMBC Aviation Capital, SMBC, Aircraft Leasing, Boeing 737 MAX
The Boeing Company

Aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital has deferred delivery on nearly 70 Boeing 737 Max aircraft by four years but has no plans to cancel any orders “at this point”.

SMBC reached a deal with Boeing to defer deliveries on the 68 Max’s – which have not yet entered production – until 2025-2027.

The lessor currently has firm orders for 89 Max aircraft and is committed to a fleet of 133.

In its annual financial report for the year ending 31 March 2020, the lessor said that its growth has been impacted by the ongoing grounding of the 737 Max and Airbus A320neo delays.

SMBC recorded a profit before tax of $364.5 million and said it entered the Covid-19 crisis with strong capital and liquidity.

“The pandemic will have a significant and potentially prolonged impact on the aviation industry,” said Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital.

“However, this period has also demonstrated the importance of air travel to the global economy and we believe that the sector will work together to address the current challenges to support economic recovery.”

Boeing in April lost 108 orders for its 737 Max, causing its order book to slip below 5,000 for the first time in seven years.

Among the companies that cancelled their 737 Max orders were General Electric’s leasing arm, Gecas, China Development Bank’s (CDB) leasing arm, Dublin-based lessor Avolon, and Brazilian airline Gol.

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