Delta CEO Would Consider The 737 MAX Once Recertified

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian indicated that he has full confidence in regulatory agencies amid the 737 MAX grounding and would consider the type once recertified. Delta currently does not operate any 737 MAX aircraft and has a host of new narrowbodies on order.

Boeing 737 MAX takeoff
Ed Bastian has confidence in the 737 MAX recertification process. Photo: Boeing

Ed Bastian interview on the 737 MAX

In an interview with CBS, Delta CEO Ed Bastian had the following to say about the 737 MAX, which is currently facing a worldwide grounding after two major, fatal crashes:

Obviously it needs to continue to go through the certification process. The FAA makes that decision. And once the regulators get comfortable with it… total faith.

If you have time, the full interview is below:

The statement

Ed Bastian is showing strong confidence in the FAA and regulatory agencies. However, it is a bit easy for Mr. Bastian to make this statement. For one, Delta does not operate any 737 MAX so Mr. Bastian can make this statement and fly Delta without having to actually worry about setting foot on the plane.

Delta Profit Sharing
Delta CEO Ed Bastian greets a flight attendant. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Furthermore, this expression of confidence does not mean that Delta will opt to order the 737 MAX. While Delta is retiring older McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90 aircraft, the airline has a replacement plan in place.

With over 100 Airbus A321 and A321neo aircraft on order, alongside the Airbus A220s, Delta does not actually need a new narrowbody type. And, once the replacement cycle for the A321s and 737NGs kicks in, hopefully, both Airbus and Boeing have a new narrowbody in their lineup.

The 757

Delta is, however, looking for a Boeing 757 replacement. While the 737 MAX is not very well suited for replacing all 757 routes, it could fill in the gap for some.

Delta 757
Delta is looking for a Boeing 757 replacement. Photo: Delta Air Lines

However, it is clear that Delta Air Lines really prefers the potential Boeing 797 to replace 757 and even 767 aircraft. However, nothing has yet been confirmed.

Ed Bastian and Delta

While some airline CEOs are well-known for some outlandish statements, Ed Bastian is much more principled. Delta has a loyal fanbase of travelers and the airline continues to advance under Ed Bastian’s leadership.

Ed Bastian
Ed Bastian has run a principled ship at Delta. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Although Delta has benefited from the 737 MAX grounding, Ed Bastian is probably looking ahead at future aircraft. Without worldwide faith in the FAA or Boeing, it would cause some difficulty for Delta if different regulatory agencies around the world refuse to certify (or delay the certification of) new Boeing aircraft.


The 737 MAX grounding continues to stretch. Currently, the return to service in the United States is looking like March of 2020, although the regulatory agencies are still hard at work. While Delta does not have a personal stake in the 737 MAX, the restoration of confidence in the FAA and Boeing is a huge deal for Delta.

What do you make of Ed Bastian’s claim? Let us know in the comments!