US Air Force KC-46 tankers being built by Boeing sit parked at the Paine Field airport in Everett, Washington. File / AP
It marked the second month this year in which Boeing received no orders, a fate that would have seemed impossible not long ago.
Boeing also indicated that it is no longer certain about completing orders for another 101 planes and dropped them from its backlog, which dropped below 5,000.
Airbus said it received orders for nine planes in April, bringing its 2020 total to 299 planes after cancellations. The European plane maker said its backlog was 7,645 jets.
The Boeing regional headquarters is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Arlington, Virginia. AFP
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused global air traffic to plummet and compounded a crisis at Boeing Co. that began with two fatal crashes and the grounding of its best-selling plane, the 737 Max.
Airlines are bleeding money and canceling thousands of flights while passengers remain too scared to fly. Airlines have grounded 16,000 planes — nearly two-thirds of the world's fleet — and they are delaying deliveries of jets that they agreed to buy before the pandemic.
Air travel in the US is down more than 90% from a year ago, and global traffic has seen a similar plunge.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun said air travel will recover so slowly that "most likely” one of the major US airlines will go out of business.
"Something will happen when September comes around,” he said on NBC’s "Today” show. "Traffic levels will not be back to 100%, they won’t even be back to 25(%). Maybe by the end of the year we approach 50(%).”
Boeing delivered just six airliners in April, bringing its 2020 total to 56 jets. The slow pace of deliveries is undercutting Boeing’s cash flow because airlines pay a chunk of the plane’s price upon delivery. Airbus delivered 14 jets last month.
General Electric’s airplane-leasing division canceled orders for 69 Boeing Max jets, and China Development Bank dropped orders for 29 of the planes. Boeing has not yet received approval from regulators for fixes it is making to software and computers on the Max.
The aerospace giant suffered a $2.4 billion second-quarter loss, reflecting the hit from much lower commercial plane deliveries as airlines suspend purchases due to falling consumer demand.
The MAX has been grounded globally since March 13, 2019, following an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. That catastrophe came just a few months after a Lion Air MAX crash that killed 189 people.
The Chicago-based company said some of the money will go toward living expenses and to cover hardship suffered by the families of passengers killed in the crashes.
Norwegian Air filled more seats on its planes and earned higher revenues per customer in April while dealing with the grounding of its 18 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, it said, sending the company’s shares sharply higher in early trade. The company said last month that the global grounding of 737 MAX jets,
Spot gold was flat at $1,868.29 per ounce by 0627 GMT. But prices are down over 4% for the week pressured by a broadly stronger greenback. US gold futures were down 0.3% to $1,871.
Brent crude was down 4 cents at $41.90 a barrel by 0635 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 8 cents to $40.23.
Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, chaired the virtual meeting of the Industrial Cooperation Committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council on Thursday.