Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Boeing recorded its worst year for net aircraft sales in 2020, but sales picked up in December as its troubled 737 Max jet began to return to flight.
The company said Tuesday that it recorded 184 gross orders for aircraft including more than 80 737 Max planes in December, but delivered just 157 planes, including 27 737 Max jets, its lowest total since 1977.
As recently as 2018, Boeing delivered a record 806 commercial jets, producing annual revenue greater than $100 billion, while analysts forecast Boeing will report revenue of only $58 billion in 2020 and $78 billion in 2021.
Customers canceled orders for more than 650 planes and Boeing removed more than 1,000 planes from its backlog as the COVID-19 pandemic greatly diminished air travel and the 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 after two fatal crashes that killed nearly 350 people.
The company ended the year with an order backlog of 4,223 planes.
"As we continue navigating through the pandemic, we're working closely with our global customers and monitoring the slow international traffic recovery to align supply with market demand," Boeing CFO Greg Smith said. "In 2021, we'll continue taking the right actions to enhance our safety culture, preserve liquidity and transform our business for the future."