January 22, 2020
Boeing should ditch MAX name says head of top leasing firm
Boeing should abandon the MAX name for its latest Boeing 737, the head of the world's top aircraft leasing firm said as the plane remains grounded pending recertification after two fatal accidents.
"We've asked Boeing to get rid of that word MAX," said Air Lease Corporation (ALC) head Steven Udvar-Hazy at an industry conference that wrapped up in Dublin on Wednesday.
"The MAX brand is damaged," he said, adding that airlines are trying to work out how long customers will be reluctant to fly on the aircraft once it re-enters service.
Boeing on Tuesday officially pushed back the timeframe for the 737 MAX to return to the skies to mid-2020, but US air safety regulators have not indicated when they expect to recertify the plane.
The aircraft was grounded last March after two crashes that claimed 346 lives raised questions about the plane's automated flight control system.
Udvar-Hazy noted that Boeing had not included the MAX name in the documentation it has submitted to regulators to have the plane declared airworthy.
"The 737 MAX crisis is unprecedented in my 50 years in the commercial aviation," said the ALC chief in a video of his speech posted online by the conference's organisers.
"I have never seen a commercial aircraft grounded for regulatory reasons for this length of time," he added.
ALC is one of the main customers of the 737 MAX, which airlines and leasing companies ordered in massive numbers as it offers considerable fuel savings compared with earlier generations.
The leasing giant had already furnished 15 planes to airlines and has another 27 ready to deliver.
"So we have over two billion dollars of airplanes that are not able to fly," Udvar-Hazy said.
© 2020 AFP