Malaysia Airlines suspends taking delivery of Boeing 737 MAX jets due to grounding

Malaysia Airlines had been due to take delivery of its first 737 MAX aircraft in July 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Malaysia Airlines suspends taking delivery of Boeing 737 MAX jets due to grounding

  • Malaysia Airlines decision represents another setback for Boeing
  • The carrier had been due to take delivery of its first 737 MAX in July 2020

KUALA LUMPUR/SYDNEY: Malaysia Airlines said on Wednesday it has suspended taking delivery of 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets, citing the plane’s delayed return to service since it was grounded last year following two fatal crashes.
The decision represents another setback for Boeing, which on Tuesday reported its worst annual net orders in decades, along with its lowest number of plane deliveries in 11 years, as the grounding of the 737 MAX saw it fall far behind main competitor Airbus.
“In view of the production stoppage and the delayed return to service of the 737-MAX, Malaysia Airlines has suspended the delivery of its orders,” the airline said in an email.
The carrier had been due to take delivery of its first 737 MAX in July 2020 but last year its chief executive said the introduction to service could slide beyond that.
Malaysia Airlines did not respond immediately to a request for comment on how many of the 25 planes it has on order were due to be delivered this year.
Analysts said cash-strapped carriers like Malaysian Airlines that over-ordered planes could take advantage of the 737 MAX grounding to negotiate with Boeing to restructure their orders.
Virgin Australia Holdings last year said it would delay taking the first deliveries of 737 MAX jets for nearly two years to reduce capital spending.
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA last year said its Dublin-based leasing subsidiary had reached an agreement with Boeing to postpone delivery of 14 737 MAX planes that were originally due in 2020 and 2021.
Boeing on Tuesday reported a net negative of 183 orders for the 737 MAX in 2019 including cancelations, but many were associated with the collapse of a major customer, India’s Jet Airways.
Boeing did not respond immediately to a request for comment about Malaysia Airlines’ decision to suspend deliveries of its orders.
The Malaysian government has been seeking a buyer for the debt-heavy airline, which is still recovering from two tragedies in 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery and flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.


IMF cuts global growth forecast and flags Middle East security worries

Updated 18 min 42 sec ago

IMF cuts global growth forecast and flags Middle East security worries

  • International economy is receiving significant boost — 0.5 percentage point of growth last year and this year
  • But IMF warns global economy continues to face array of risks

LONDON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its global growth predictions for 2020 despite a slightly improving world economy and warned that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East could impact global oil supplies.

It expects world economic growth to accelerate be 2.9 percent last year, rising to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent in 2021.

The IMF released the figures ahead at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Rising geopolitical tensions, notably between the United States and Iran, could disrupt global oil supply, hurt sentiment and weaken already tentative business investment,” the IMF said.

The Middle East and Central Asia is expected to record 2.8 percent growth in 2020, slightly lower than the IMF's October outlook and reflecting a downward revision to Saudi Arabia’s oil output following last month’s decision by the OPEC+ group to extend supply cuts.

It expects the region to pick up speed in 2021 with growth of 3.2 percent.

IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said: “We’ve seen clearly a rise in geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. We still have to see how far this goes. If you look at oil prices the reaction has been fairly muted at this point. We’ve seen some increase of about 3 to 4 dollars in the price of oil but nothing very large.”

Regional tensions have escalated sharply after the killing of a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, triggering Iranian retaliatory attacks.

“Prospects for several economies remain subdued owing to rising geopolitical tensions (Iran), social unrest (including in Iraq and Lebanon), and civil strife (Libya, Syria, Yemen),” the IMF said.

Although overall risks to the global economy have reduced over the year, the IMF warned that outcomes “depend to an important extent on avoiding further escalation” between Washington and Beijing.

It also flagged the possibility of new trade tensions emerging between the US and the EU.

“The reality is that global growth remains sluggish,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. “We are all adjusting to live with the new normal of uncertainty.”