Huge Uncertainty For Boeing As 737 MAX Aircraft Are Banned Worldwide

All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded after two crashes in only five months. One country after another banned the aircraft over the last couple of days. Finally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States took a stand and did the same. On Wednesday, the FAA issued an “Emergency Order of Prohibition”, prohibiting further operation of the aircraft in the United States.

FAA Headquarters
On Monday, the FAA still insisted that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft remained airworthy. Photo: Wikimedia.

Right now 387 737 MAX aircraft are on the ground pending further investigation. Daniel Elwell, the Acting Administrator of the FAA, stated that new evidence showed that the movement of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft was similar to the movement of the Lion Air aircraft involved in the crash in October. Accordingly, the FAA made the decision to order “the temporary grounding” of the aircraft.

What does the worldwide ban of the aircraft mean for the Boeing company?

The Boeing 737 MAX has been Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft in history. Currently, the aircraft manufacturer has almost 5,000 open orders for the aircraft. The aircraft is a big moneymaker for Boeing, or it was set to be anyway. Boeing’s shares have fallen as much as 13% is week, leading to their investors losing more than $26 billion.

Boeing 737 MAX
The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft represents the fourth generation of the Boeing 737. Photo: Wikipedia.

With all these aircraft sitting on the ground, the impact to their owners is going to be significant. Let’s assume that one aircraft can carry 180 passengers and airlines operate that plane on four flights a day. For all of the grounded airplanes, this means that more than 278,000 seats are missing each day.

Currently, there are 59 worldwide operators of the aircraft. The operators with the largest 737 MAX fleets are Southwest Airlines with 35 aircraft, and American Airlines, Air Canada and China Southern who all have 24. There is a good chance that we will see delays and cancellations on some of the 737 MAX flights if the airlines do not have replacement aircraft available.

Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft
Even though the 737 MAX 8 aircraft was involved in both crashes, the 737 MAX 9 was grounded as well. Photo: Wikimedia.

The ban of the 737 MAX aircraft will almost certainly lead to airlines asking Boeing for compensation for the grounded aircraft. After all, the airlines will lose money while their aircraft are sitting on the ground.

How long will the aircraft remain grounded?

At this point, we really do not know. According to the FAA, “the grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.” We do not know how long the investigation will take.

Nevertheless, we should be glad that all aircraft are on the ground instead of risking another crash. Hopefully, Boeing and the other parties involved in the investigation will find a smoking gun soon and will be able to implement a comprehensive fix in the near future.

How do you feel about the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft?

6 comments
  1. Boeing had better face this situation honestly and implement a real fix if said fix is needed. They have a lot on the line.

  2. It was all politics that caused the FAA to delay the ban. Otherwise, an issue like this that puts the lives of people at risk should not be taken lightly by any person or organ that respects the customers they serve. Things have to be put right before they resume otherwise there is need to restore peoples confidence for now.

  3. Its a major problem that the Ethiopian government has chosen Airbus to analyze the voice and data recorders. They have a huge multi-billion dollar inventive to stall the process, perhaps corruptly wipe the data if it exonerates Boeing or helps them solve the issue or rig the results of the analysis.

  4. The extension of rear end to add 10-20% more seats may have shifted balance on wings versus front part thus shifting nose up too much on take off.
    Software was meant to stabilize the plane on takeoff but in severe weather or other conditions who knows how well or predictable software can be.
    Wing location should have been shifted back 1-2 seats back to recover stability, but that would have needed a lot more design work so Boeing took a shortcut.
    Max7 may have been ok but Max8 and Max9 went too far in extending rear end length.

  5. It is sad to see that Shareholder only disease has infected Boeing. You had to realize where this was going once it was acknowledged that the MCAS system relies on only one sensor to override all other systems and the pilot.

    Redundancy has always been the pathway to aviation safety. Major goof to ignore that. The software fix in the works relies on multiple sensors going forward, but you can be certain the FAA and others are not going to let the plane slide through certification a second time.

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