As we inch closer to the return of the Boeing 737 MAX in our skies, some airlines are considering changing the name of the aircraft. This is a marketing move, and one that is hoped won’t carry the associations of the past aircraft crashes.
What are the details?
Ever since the two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashed, killing over 300 people and grounding the Boeing aircraft, the general public has been wary about flying onboard the plane.
These events all occurred because Boeing 737 MAX, the fourth generation of Boeing 737, had an unknown computer system to adjust the aircraft angle of attack. This system, known as MCAS, lowered the nose of the plane to adjust for the powerful engines pushing the aircraft up. However, in very rare situations the system fought with the pilots and plunged the aircraft down.
This eventually led to two crashes and caused the entire 737 MAX series to be grounded worldwide.
Since then, airlines and Boeing have been hard at work to not only fix the Boeing 737 MAX itself but also fix the aircraft’s reputation. One proposed way of doing this would be to rename the aircraft.
What are some of the possibilities?
Right now, two European airlines with Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are approaching the branding issue. TUI, an operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, has yet to take action on renaming the aircraft, but likely they might follow in the next entrant’s footsteps.
Ryanair has decided to rename their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, as revealed by a leaked photo from the Boeing factory.
— Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) July 15, 2019
IAG, the owner of British Airways, ordered a huge number of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Paris Air Show… but they didn’t even use the name of the aircraft in their release. Instead, they called it the 737-8 and 737-10.
Will this work?
Now, many of you reading this right now will scoff and take another sip of your earl grey thinking no one would possibly fall for this. However, before writing about aircraft this author would struggle to know the differences between aircraft, with only the large Boeing 747 and A380 being iconic enough to leave a lasting impression.
The Boeing 737 has four generations of aircraft, with multiple variants in each. Remembering that the 737 MAX was involved in an accident is a big challenge for those who are unfamiliar with aircraft.
“The consumer I think in the beginning will be confused, because they’re already quite confused between the 737 NG [next generation] and the Max.” – Dawn Wilson, managing director of Tui Airways, who have 23 MAX currently grounded, speaking to The Independent.
And those suggesting that they could look up their flight aircraft prior to boarding, sometimes it is not entirely clear until you arrive at the airport. A plane might be swapped in with another, or multiple other reasons why the aircraft type might be unknown.
What do you think? How should Boeing and airlines rename this plane? Or should they stick to the original name? Let us know in the comments.