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Boeing orders jump but trail Airbus for 4th straight year as China lags

A Boeing 737 Max aircraft during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, in Farnborough

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Boeing Co reported a sharp jump in airplane orders and deliveries in 2022 but trailed Airbus for the fourth straight year as its European rival trounced the U.S. manufacturer more than tenfold in the Chinese market.

Boeing delivered 480 airplanes and won 774 net new orders after allowing for cancellations in 2022, while Airbus delivered 661 jets and won 1,078 jet orders during 2022, or a net total of 820 after allowing for cancellations.

In 2022, Boeing delivered eight airplanes to China while Airbus delivered more than 100. In July China's "Big Three" state airlines agreed to buy 292 300 Airbus jet, while Boeing said in September it would begin to remarket some of the more than 100 737 MAX jets earmarked for Chinese airlines.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo complained in 2021 that the Chinese government was preventing its domestic airlines from buying “tens of billions of dollars” worth of Boeing airplanes.

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said in October the planemaker hopes it will eventually be able to deliver more jets in China but "it is really hard for me to find signals that things are going to change in China and move in our direction."

In total last month, Boeing delivered 69 airplanes, including 53 737 MAX planes and 15 widebody airplanes and booked 203 new orders net of cancellations.

Boeing in 2021 delivered 340 planes and reported 479 net new orders. Boeing shares closed down 0.9%.

Boeing said its official backlog as of Dec. 31 rose to 4,578 airplanes including 3,628 737 MAX airplanes. About 80% of its deliveries in 2022 were for 737s. Boeing had gross orders of 935 for 2022 before cancellations and accounting adjustments.

Boeing's 2022 deliveries included 31 787 Dreamliners, including 10 handed over in December.

In August, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the first 787 for delivery since 2021. Boeing halted deliveries in May 2021 after the FAA raised concerns about its proposed inspection method.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said the company had worked hard to stabilize 737 production and resume 787 deliveries.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed legislation lifting a Dec. 27 deadline imposing a new safety standard for modern cockpit alerts for the MAX 7 and MAX 10 - two new versions of the U.S. planemaker's best-selling 737 MAX.

The MAX was grounded for 20 months after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.

Without action by Congress, the two new MAX variants would need modern cockpit alerting systems to be certified by the FAA. Boeing has warned that this could jeopardize the futures of the airplanes. Boeing has more than 1,000 orders for the two MAX variants.

Last month, United Airlines said it was ordering 100 787s and 100 737 MAXs. Boeing said Tuesday that 10 MAX and 10 787 orders were previously listed as unidentified orders.

(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Mark Potter, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)