After two accidents killing over 500 people, flyers are wary about flying aboard the Boeing 737 MAX when the ground order is lifted. Boeing is considering giving the airframe a new name and identity to re-inspire passengers when it can fly once more. But would it be enough?
The troubled Boeing 737 MAX may get a new identity if it would inspire renewed faith in the airframe. In an interview with Bloomberg, executives for the Chicago-based manufacturer said they would be open to a rebranding of the next-generation aircraft to improve the public perception.
The 737 MAX airframe was grounded worldwide after two fatal accidents within months of each other. Since then, Boeing has worked to find an answer under accusations of upselling safety features and poor manufacturing procedures. During the 2019 Paris Air Show, Boeing executives noted they would be willing to reconsider the aircraft name if it would result in a better public opinion.
“We’re committed to doing what we need to do to restore [the Boeing 737 MAX],” Boeing chief financial officer Greg Smith said in an interview. “If that means changing the brand to restore it, then we’ll address that. If it doesn’t, we’ll address whatever is a high priority.”
While the plan is one of many to get passengers back on the aircraft when it begins flying again, executives say there are no plans in the works to drop “MAX” from the next generation of 737 aircraft. Boeing has precedence for their argument: despite the initial problems with the 787 “Dreamliner,” the company kept the name and continues to fly the aircraft today.
Because passengers remain wary about the aircraft performance, airlines are changing their policies for those who do not wish to fly aboard it. But with a fix promised, airlines continue to remain optimistic about using it in their fleet. During the Paris Air Show, International Airlines Group – the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia – signed a letter of intent with Boeing to purchase 200 737 MAX-8 and MAX-10 aircraft between 2023 and 2027. The aircraft planned to go into service with British Airways out of London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and with their two low-cost carrier brands, Level and Vueling.
“We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators,” Willie Walsh, IAG CEO, said in the airline’s statement.
[Featured Image: Boeing]