United's CEO: Flyers will need convincing to fly the Boeing 737 MAX again
Having the FAA and Boeing say the 737 MAX is safe to fly isn’t going to mollify all passengers’ fears, United Airlines CEO said on Friday.
That's why he promised, once again, on Friday that his airline won't swap jets on you and will let passengers rebook away from the MAX.
“Them two saying that that it is safe is not enough,” CEO Oscar Munoz said, to restore passengers’ confidence in the jet. “We will rebook you, so you are comfortable flying it.”
United had 14 of the MAX jets in its fleet before the global grounding of the plane in March.
The comments by Munoz at the airline's media day on Friday fit with the message he has been saying for months. Munoz has long said he planned to be on United’s first 737 MAX flight when the jet resumes flying.
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“Just because somebody says it’s safe, you as the flying public aren’t just going to get on the aircraft,” Munoz said back in May, after United’s annual meeting with shareholders.
“If people need any kind of adjustments, we will absolutely rebook them,” he promised back in the spring.
Since then, American, Southwest and United have all pushed back the reintroduction of the MAX into their schedules on several occasions as the jet has remained grounded. All three airlines have now pulled the MAX from their timetables until at least January.
United's president, Scott Kirby, said Friday that the airline plans to take delivery of 40 to 50 new MAX planes in 2020, after regulators clear it to fly again.
The delay is clearly having an impact on the carrier.
Andrew Nocella, United’s chief commercial officer, said the airline has delayed Boeing 757 retirements until there is more clarity about when deliveries of the MAX will resume.