Boeing (NYSE:BA) has gone from being an icon of American industrial prowess to the poster child for crony capitalism, greed, and — dare I say it — downright stupidity.
In its rapid fall from greatness, the company has managed to drag down the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), America’s top aviation regulator, into disrepute while putting the future of the entire industry into question.
This mess was caused by one plane, the Boeing 737 MAX — as well as the corporate culture behind it. The MAX is currently grounded. But with the FAA set to re-certify the planes by mid-year, it begs a brutal question: Will anyone want to fly in a plane produced by an untrustworthy company and ungrounded by an untrustworthy regulator — a plane that has already led to the preventable deaths of 346 people?
It’s time for Boeing to change the name of the 737 MAX. The brand is tarnished beyond repair. And I, for one, would rather walk than step foot on this aircraft.
The 737 MAX is an upgrade to Boeing’s legendary 737, the best-selling jet airliner in history. The MAX was hugely popular with airlines because it helped them cut costs with its larger, more fuel-efficient engine. But it was later learned that the rush to implement this new engine was the main reason for the plane’s fatal crashes.
If you fly in the United States, chances are you have already been in a Boeing 737. The U.S.-based airliners like American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL), and Southwest (NYSE: LUV) are some of Boeing’s biggest customers. They also have massive order backlogs for deliveries of the MAX version of the plane, so when the FAA re-certifies the 737 MAX, it will be very hard for American passengers to avoid the troubled jet.
But the data suggest that the prospect of flying in a 737 MAX doesn’t sit well with much of the flying public.
According to a poll from UBS Group, 70% of passengers would hesitate to book a flight on the 737 MAX. Perhaps even more poignant is a study that suggests more than 40% of passengers would be willing to take a more expensive or inconvenient flight to stay off the deadly plane. If these polls are to be believed, the Boeing 737 MAX may be less profitable for airlines to run compared to iterations of the jet like the 737-700 it is slated to replace.
According to Darryl Campbell of The Verge magazine,
No amount of fuel efficiency can compensate for that many lost seats.
Calls to re-brand the Boeing 737 MAX have come from the very top with U.S. President Donald Trump suggesting that Boeing ditch the tainted moniker. These calls have so far been brushed aside by Boeing.
Although Boeing has publicly stated that it isn’t looking to rename the Boeing 737 MAX, if the flying public makes its voice heard, it may be forced to. The MAX’s current name is a slap in the face to passengers and a constant reminder that Boeing chose to ‘MAXimize’ its profits over the safety of consumers. I, for one, won’t step foot on the plane — name change or not.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Last modified: January 30, 2020 1:06 AM UTC