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Boeing customers cancel 150 Max jet orders amid coronavirus crisis

Boeing customers cancel 150 Max jet orders amid coronavirus crisis
Customers canceled 150 orders in March for the Boeing 737 Max jets. The 737 Max was already grounded for more than a year after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- Boeing customers canceled 150 Max plane orders in March amid shrinking demand with coronavirus travel restrictions.

The Chicago-based manufacturer posted the 150 cancellations Tuesday.

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The cancellations largely came from aircraft leasing company Avolon and Brazilian airline Gol.

Avolon canceled its order of 75 of the 737 Max jets, worth an estimated $3.8 billion, as passenger demand dropped to a new low amid the coronavirus crisis. The order was originally placed in November 2017, including 55 Max 8 and 20 Max 10 models.

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Brazilian airline Gol canceled 34 of the planes.

Five orders were also canceled from Czech Republic-based Smartwings, among other cancellations.

The shrinking demand amid the coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the problems for the 737 Max, which was already grounded for more than a year after two crashes killed a total of 346 people. The company has been ordered to fix its automated flight software for the planes after investigations of the crashes. Still, in January, the New York Times reported an internal audit in December found undiscovered safety issues with the wiring that controls the aircraft's tail.

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"We are working closely with our customers, many of whom are facing significant financial pressures, to review their fleet plans and make adjustments where appropriate," Boeing said in a statement. "At the same time, Boeing continues to adjust its order book to adapt to lower-than-planned 737 Max production in the near term."

Earlier this month, Boeing announced a buyout program to allow employees to leave voluntarily with a benefit package amid the reduced travel because of the coronavirus crisis.

Boeing said it will release its first quarter earnings on April 29, which should provide more detail on financial damage from the coronavirus crisis and steps the company is taking to address it.

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