Delta CEO says he’d fly on the Boeing 737 MAX once it’s back in the air

Nov 22, 2019

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said he would fly on Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX once it returns to service. Delta has not ordered the MAX, but Bastian made his comments about the plane when asked about the subject during a Friday interview on network television.

“Obviously it needs to continue to go through the certification process,” Bastian said on CBS This Morning. He added he’ll have no doubt about the airplane’s safety “once the regulators get comfortable with it.”

While there are no 737 MAXes in Delta’s fleet, the airline has seen a profit boost from “spillover demand” as some of its competitors that do fly the MAX have had to trim their schedules. But, Bastian pointed out, Delta is one of the world’s largest operators of Boeing aircraft, and he said he’s confident the company builds safe, reliable airplanes.

“Boeing is an amazing company,” he told CBS. “We’re the second-largest operator of Boeing equipment in the world. We fly over 600 Boeing aircraft. There’s no question that this is going to bring up opportunities to improve safety and learn more as we go forth. But transportation in the U.S., particularly air travel, is the safest of any transportation system in the world.”

Bastian’s comments on Friday mirror others he’s previously made on the subject, including in a May interview with CNBC when he also said then that he’d fly on the jet once it returned to service.

The global 737 MAX fleet remains grounded following two accidents that left 346 people dead. An automated flight control system is suspected of contributing to both disasters, and Boeing and regulators have been working on a fix since March. Some airlines will have their MAX fleets grounded for almost a year if the current projections for the planes’ return to service hold.

Featured photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images.

Related: Snapshot: A Look at Delta Air Lines by the Numbers


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