A well-respected aviation executive is urging Boeing Co. to change the name of its beleaguered 737 MAX aircraft.
Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease, said Boeing should rebrand the plane as it comes up on almost a year since the 737 MAX was grounded in March of 2019 following two separate crashes that resulted in 346 deaths.
Udvar-Hazy’s company has been greatly affected – it has 42 of the 737 MAX planes sitting unused, and another 150 that were ordered before the crashes last year.
“We’ve asked Boeing to get rid of that word MAX,” he said at the Airline Economics aviation finance conference. “I think that word MAX should go down in the history books as a bad name for an aircraft.”
Udvar-Hazy noted the reluctance of fliers to get back on the plane after not only the tragedies but the numerous problems and delays in trying to get the 737 MAX re-certified for flight.
He called for a “rebrand” of the model, and it’s not the first time somebody has made that suggestion. President Trump floated the idea as well.
The 737 MAX might not be cleared to fly again until at least April, and American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have already said they will not use the planes until June at the earliest.
Udvar-Hazy also said that inhibitions among passengers flying in the plane again might be different around the world.
“Will people in the US after a few months forget about the accidents and think, ‘Oh, it’s just another 737,’ or are there going to be parts of the world where people are going to be more superstitious and it will take longer for them to erase that stigma?” he said.
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