It appears as though American Airlines has the perfect way to restore public trust in the Boeing 737 MAX. Indeed, the carrier will fly executives around on the aircraft before reintroducing it to service.
There are a large number of passengers who will not be keen on jumping straight aboard a Boeing 737 MAX. The aircraft has now been grounded for almost three months. Indeed, yesterday while repositioning, a Norwegian 737 MAX was denied entry to German airspace. The loss of public trust is due to two fatal MAX crashes, which resulted from a flaw in the aircraft’s software.
Why has public trust dropped?
Public trust has dropped in the Boeing 737 MAX as of late. People were already becoming suspicious when the first accident happened. Lion Air flight 610 dove into the water shortly after takeoff with 189 occupants in October. People were questioning how a brand new aircraft crashes killing all on board.
However, things took a turn when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed in similar circumstances less than half a year later. This accident saw all 157 onboard lost. The aircraft was incrementally grounded around the world until the FAA finally applied a blanket ban.
Now that the aircraft has been grounded for almost three months, almost everybody is aware. The grounding has also been accompanied by a wealth of negative press, causing a PR nightmare for the manufacturer. Many passengers will be thinking “if the aircraft wasn’t safe before, how do I know it is now?”
Executive guinea pigs
American Airlines hopes that by placing some of the airline’s executives on board the aircraft before passengers, it will inspire passengers to fly the aircraft. Business Insider reports that Doug Parker, the airline’s CEO told this to investors.
The thinking is that by placing employees onboard the aircraft, American Airlines trust the aircraft’s redesign. Indeed, why should the airline expect passengers to fly onboard an aircraft which their own staff wouldn’t fly on? If this was the case, then passengers would certainly not feel safe onboard the aircraft. Additionally, it would be unreasonable to expect passengers to fly in such a case.
Boeing has a long way to go in order to restore trust in the aircraft. This will start with the manufacturer convincing the world’s regulators that the aircraft is safe to fly, with any problems addressed. Following on from this, Boeing will have to convince airlines to fly their passengers onboard this aircraft.
Finally, which is what American Airlines is trying to prove, customers will have to be convinced the aircraft is safe to fly on. This is partially passed on to the airlines as they are the direct interface with most customers. Personally, I will not fly on the Boeing 737 MAX until it has been in service for at least a year without any incidents.
What about you? Do you think the Boeing 737 MAX will be safe to fly once recertified? Let us know in the comments!