Why Delta Wants The Boeing 737 MAX Back In The Skies

Delta Air Lines wants Boeing to get the grounded Boeing 737 MAX back in the sky, despite the fact that the airline doesn’t actually have any of the aircraft!

Delta underside
Delta wants Boeing to dust itself off and get back to making aircraft. Photo: Delta Air Lines

What are the details?

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian was speaking to Yahoo Finance recently and addressed industry concerns about the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX.

The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded after two crashes (unrelated to the recent Boeing 737-800 crash) due to an error with the MCAS system.


According to Live and Lets Fly, Delta’s CEO went on to discuss how Boeing needed to stop being in damage control and get back to innovating.


“We are anxious to see the MAX back into the sky. I think having it as long as it’s been out is not good for anyone in the industry, even though we don’t fly the MAX, because we need Boeing, to continue to work on development and innovation of future technology. That’s been our message to Boeing, is to not lose sight of the future.”

The CEO went on to suggest that the Boeing 737 MAX disaster was a distraction for the aerospace builder.


He concluded with the statement that Boeing is needed for the industry, and his airline, to grow.

“We need to be able to get the technology and the next-generation aircraft that we really need to continue to advance our opportunities to grow.”

Delta Air Lines A350 on taxiway
Delta is heavily invested in Airbus and does not have the 737 MAX. Photo: Airbus

Why did he say these comments?

It is a bit strange that the CEO of an airline would suggest that an aircraft that is unsafe get back in the sky. However, from a business point of view, it makes sense.

Airlines need there to be multiple suppliers of airframes in a competitive environment in order for them to get the best possible deal. If Boeing were to really suffer due to problems like the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, it might give Airbus too much leverage in the market place.

So much leverage that Boeing or other competitors to Airbus might never be able to reclaim market share and be stamped out. This would give Airbus an unfair advantage of the market.

A Delta Air Lines Airbus A220
Delta is also one of the champions of the Airbus A220, and part of the reason the type is doing so well. Photo: Delta

This is very unlikely to happen of course, as Boeing is heavily invested in US military contracts, plenty of other orders (like the 787) and has the backing of the US government (plus all the problems that would occur to Airbus thanks to anti-trust laws if it did become a monopoly).

As for Delta, they might not have the Boeing 737 MAX, but they certainly want the option to buy the aircraft in the future, or any others from the Boeing line. Plus, it is good to have your local aerospace builders back in a time of crisis, you never know what favor you may need in the future.

What do you think about this news? Should Delta be defending Boeing? Let us know in the comments.


Leave a Reply

8 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

All airlines need a minimum of two suppliers to play off each other to get the best price. For Delta to say that is only normal and you would get a very similar reaction from any airline. In real terms Comac and Ikurt are still no match for either Boeing or Airbus and will take many years for them to be any form of competitor (if at all) but you MIGHT see one or two interesting orders. Personally I think the biggest possibility of an order that will be Turkish airlines and they might ditch the max. This will be… Read more »

Richard Johnson

Delta has close to 200 planes they need to replace in the next 5 to 10 years. They have a 100 321neos on order to begin this year and 35 330-900neos to replace some of 767’s longer routes. Delta is still pushing for Boeing to make a plane to hold 210 to 240 passengers with around 4000 to 4500 nautical miles with a competitive price tag. Hopefully Boeing can get thru this mess and start working on this for the airlines demands. I am very anxious to see what happens in 2020 to see if this can happen. I am… Read more »

thierry metaireau

“a plane to hold 210 to 240 passengers with around 4000 to 4500 nautical miles with a competitive price tag.” , isn’t it what the A321 XLR already offers?


Methinks he means a 767 replacement. That 757 replacement ship has already sailed

Richard Johnson

Yes the 767-300er and the 757-300. I think the neo’s will replace the 757-200’s. Maybe delta will convert some their orders of the neo over to xlr like American did. Soon they will have to think of replacement of their 320’s also. Delta is my airline but they have a lot of old planes.

High Mile Club

Having options is a good thing, though I suspect Delta (like United) wants Boeing to get started on the supposed 797 so they can replace their old 757s. Being that Delta owns the most of them these days might be telling.


Delta has ordered A321’s for the 757 – they want a 767 replacement, now.


The ‘so-called’ 797 should have emerged quite awhile back; it’s obvious. What’s less noted is how a smaller 787 Dreamliner, perhaps a 300 series, could fit. I heard it was considered early-on and dropped but that would be an easier product to bring to life; AND it’s composite with all the modern features.


“This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys,”

New internal communications have been released by Boeing detailing what employees are saying about the Max.

A Boeing employee notes regulators were likely to want simulator training for a particular type of cockpit alert.

“We are going to push back very hard on this and will likely need support at the highest levels when it comes time for the final negotiation,” the employee writes.

Methinks they fired Muilenberg a bit too early…now the new guy has to answer for all this.


If Trump puts tariffs on Airbus that is a violation of Anti-Trust laws as it makes Boeing a defacto monopoly.

Gerry S

I am really surprised that Delta is playing nice with Boeing. After the CSeries debacle (A220) with Boeing suing because Delta was buying them, I would have thought Delta would turn away from them. What ever the reason for Delta's statement, they alone know what is up. It is to their benifit. Me? I would have booted Boeing to the curb. I hold grudges. Delta obviously does not. More power to them.


It isn’t no secret that Bastian wants to be the launch customer for the NMA and wants to work closely with Boeing on the project as well. So Delta kinda has an vested interest in Boeing and for them to get the Max back up and flying. It’d be nice if Embraer worked on the NMA.


It’s no secret that Bastian wants to be the launch customer for the NMA and to work closely together with Boeing on the project. So I can see why he wants Boeing to get the Max up and flying again. It’d be nice to see Embraer develop the NMA, but since Delta wants to work with Boeing on it, I don’t see it happening.