June 11 (Reuters) - Boeing said on Tuesday it delivered 24 commercial planes in May, about half of the 50 jets it handed over to customers during the same month a year earlier, as it continued operating a slower assembly line to complete outstanding work.

Boeing has said it is producing fewer MAX single-aisle jets to improve manufacturing quality, after the Jan. 5 mid-air blowout of a door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet brought the U.S. planemaker under increased scrutiny from regulators.

The planemaker said it delivered 19 MAX jets in May, three more than in April, but down 45% from the 35 jets it handed over to customers during the same month in 2023.

Reuters reported in April that Boeing's monthly output fell to as low as single digits in late March, well below a Federal Aviation Administration-imposed (FAA) cap of 38 jets a month.

Aircraft deliveries are closely watched by Wall Street because planemakers are able to collect the majority of their payment when they hand over jets to customers.

Boeing also said it had taken four gross new orders in May, all 787-10 Dreamliners for Eva Air. That brings Boeing's gross order total so far this year to 142.

After removing cancellations and conversions, Boeing posted a net total of 103 orders since the start of 2024.

After further accounting adjustments to reflect the quality of the backlog, Boeing reported adjusted net orders of 130 airplanes so far this year.

Boeing's backlog declined from 5,646 to 5,625 as of May 31.

Earlier this month, Boeing's European rival Airbus said it delivered 53 aircraft in May, down 16% from the same month of 2023, bringing deliveries so far this year to 256. (Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal Editing by Tomasz Janowski)