How Boeing Will Ensure Passengers Fly On The 737 MAX

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The Boeing 737 MAX scandal has been all over the news this year. Air passengers around the world are aware of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding. This is bad news for Boeing and the airlines which have bought the type. But Boeing has been trying to figure out how it can convince passengers the 737 MAX is safe to fly.

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Lots of passengers would be wary of flying on the Boeing 737 MAX if it was re-certified. Photo: Steve Lynes via Flickr

Since the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in March it has gained worldwide attention. The two 737 MAX crashes which led to the groundings resulted in the deaths of 346 people in total.

When it comes to public perception, there’s not much worse than two high-profile deadly accidents.

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Unfortunately for Boeing and the airlines which have invested in the Boeing 737 MAX, a large portion of the public are now very wary of the aircraft.

Boeing’s research

Boeing has a lot to lose from the negative public perception of the Boeing 737 MAX. If passengers are wary of flying on the type, airlines may lose a lot of money.

According to reports by the Sydney Morning Herald, Boeing has been monitoring public perception of the 737 MAX scandal throughout the year. It has conducted four surveys of public opinion since May.

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WestJet Boeing 737 MAX 8
The Boeing 737 MAX still hasn’t been re-certified. Photo: ace.yyc via Flickr

The most recent survey conducted by Boeing reveals that 40% of flyers would still be unwilling to fly on the Boeing 737 MAX.

Boeing’s suggested approach

The New York Times has reportedly reviewed conference calls and presentation materials which outline several strategies Boeing has drafted up to help airlines deal with negative customer perception of the Boeing 737 MAX.

If some customers refuse to fly on the Boeing 737 MAX once it has been re-certified, Boeing has come up with some suggested responses.

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“Every interaction with an anxious passenger, whether face-to-face or online, is an opportunity to demonstrate our care and concern,” a Boeing presentation said.

“This is as simple as recognition of a passenger’s state of mind. Research shows that emotions drive decision-making, so a human connection will be more effective than rational appeals.”

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March. Photo: SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons

The Sydney Morning Herald also reports that the latest Boeing presentation materials have not been received well by some executives.

According to the newspaper, sources say that “Boeing has lost credibility and that the company’s involvement would only hurt their efforts to win back the trust of passengers.

Boeing got rid of its CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg on Monday. This is ikely as part of its efforts to move away from the negative publicity of the 737 MAX scandal.

On Monday, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, “we know we have work to do to restore confidence in Boeing and the Max.”

Additionally, Boeing announced that next year it will be bringing in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chief Communications Officer, Niel Golightly. This is likely another bid to fix its public opinion.

When the Boeing 737 MAX is re-certified, a more comprehensive plan to fix public opinion may well be published.

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