Boeing Wouldn’t Rule Out 737 MAX Name Change, Report Says

Jun 17, 2019

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Boeing would consider changing the name of its troubled 737 MAX under the right circumstances, a company executive said Monday on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.

The reputation of both Boeing and its new 737 MAX model have taken a hit following March grounding of the MAX, which followed two fatal crashes that killed a combined 346 people. Regulators around the world have since grounded the jet and investigations have put Boeing in the spotlight over safety concerns for the aircraft.

The MAX remains grounded with no timetable as to when it might be cleared to fly again. American and Southwest both have the MAX returning to their schedules in September, though that’s contingent on the plane receiving approvals from the FAA and other global regulators. United’s schedule currently has its MAX 9s returning in August.

Speaking to Bloomberg News at the air show, Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said the company would not rule out rebranding the aircraft.

“I’d say we’re being open-minded to all the input we get,” he said in the interview with Bloomberg. “We’re committed to doing what we need to do to restore it. If that means changing the brand to restore it, then we’ll address that. If it doesn’t, we’ll address whatever is a high priority.”

Boeing’s executives told Bloomberg there’s no current plan to change the name of the MAX, but that they would consider it based on traveler sentiment and airline feedback.

A study out in June by Atmosphere Research travel consultancy found that travelers’ confidence in the plane has been shaken. More than two in five, for example, said they would take flights that are less convenient or more expensive to avoid flying on a 737 MAX.

Boeing issued a statement regarding the possibility shortly after Smith’s interview with Bloomberg.

“Our immediate focus is the safe return of the Max to service and re-earning the trust of airlines and the traveling public,” the company told Bloomberg in a statement. “We remain open-minded to all input from customers and other stakeholders, but have no plans at this time to change the name of the 737 Max.”

Featured image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images.

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