An aerial photo shows Jet Airways and 9 Air Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, as well as a 737 MAX 7, grounded at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019.
File photo: An aerial photo shows 9 Air Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, as well as a 737 MAX 7, grounded at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US. Image Credit: Reuters

Boeing Co. delivered 44 commercial aircraft in June, the highest monthly total since the company curbed work in its factories in the wake of a harrowing near-miss in early January involving a 737 Max jetliner.

The US planemaker handed over 35 jets from its 737 family during the month, all of them Max models except for one militarized P-8. Boeing also delivered five 777 freighters, three 787 Dreamliners and one 767 to its defense division to be converted to an aerial tanker. The company recorded 14 gross orders against two cancellations in the month.

While the rebound in deliveries is rare good news for the embattled manufacturer, it also underscores the growing market gap between Boeing and rival Airbus SE. The European planemaker delivered 67 jets in the month, including 53 of its narrowbody A320neo models that compete directly with the Max.

Boeing is counting on rising deliveries during the second half of the year to bolster finances that have been battered by a production slowdown as it retrained workers and stepped up supplier inspections. The company faces multiple investigations and tougher regulator scrutiny after investigators linked the structural failure on the Alaska Airlines jet in January to a breakdown in protocol within Boeing’s factory.

During the three months ending on June 30, Boeing delivered 92 commercial jets, an improvement from its first-quarter tally of 83 aircraft. Executives have predicted that deliveries of the 737, a critical source of cash, will rise close to the 38-jets-per-month cap imposed by US regulators following the Alaska Air accident. The Federal Aviation Administration won’t allow Boeing to hike production to higher levels until it’s convinced quality controls are in place and the supply chain can keep pace.

Boeing booked three 737 Max orders during June, including a plane to replace the Alaska Airlines jet involved in Flight 1282. The company also logged 11 orders for its 777 freighter aircraft, the largest monthly total for the model in almost three years.

The planemaker also removed 116 orders from its backlog under the terms of a US accounting rule for at-risk transactions. The aircraft sales still remain under contract and could be reinstated over time. While Boeing recorded 156 gross orders during the first half of the year, after taking into account cancellations and the changes under the accounting rule, its net orders were just 26.