Would you fly in a Boeing 737 – Max?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

That is a question that has taxed the minds of airline professionals at the Paris Air Show this week.

737-MAX 8 Artwork. Image © Boeing

After the two crashes by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines plus the reluctance of Boeing and the FAA to ground the airline and then the batting back and forth on what was to blame has managed to keep the aircraft in the news.

Generally, the perceived wisdom is that a single crash is quickly forgotten and people will resume flying. Even on a popular plane with thousands in use around the world which means the odds for a greater number of accidents would be greater will have little effect on flyers.

In this case though, the way that Boeing responded and the fact that the plane is still grounded and likely to remain so for many months to come is what concerns people. Is it because the FAA and other regulatory bodies want to be 200% sure that the problem has been sorted? Is it because the problem with the software and other components is still ongoing?

After the delay in grounding the plane, some airlines such as Garuda have cancelled orders. Others have expressed doubts about whether passengers would want to fly in it.

Yesterday, the US Subcommittee on Aviation Hearing held a morning session on the plane hearing from representatives of pilots, airlines, flight attendants and other interested parties. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said in  its submission, “If the public does not believe that the process of returning the 737 Max 8 to service is not the result of a thorough, rigorous, and transparent safety-driven process, then this aircraft will likely be forever tainted,”

What did we learn about the future of the plane?

Not a lot but we learnt some interesting things about how they system of certification works. How comfortable would passengers be when they know that the certification for the 737-Max is based on the one for the original model which dates back to 1967? How comfortable would passengers be in knowing that American Airlines pilots were allowed to use the sole simulator for testing but then Boeing withdrew that invitation at the last moment and just before the house committee met? How comfortable are passengers when they learn that there are very few simulators for this plane, one in the USA, two in Canada and one in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa? And how comfortable are passengers when they know that more of the training of pilots is done on ipads rather than simulators?

Boeing are going to have to work hard to persuade many passengers to board a 737-Max.

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