Editor’s Comment: Hang on in there Boeing… it’ll be OK

LARA editor Glenn Sands provides a summary of the latest happenings across the low-fare airline and regional aviation industry.


We’ve hit the halfway point of 2019 and one of the busiest periods of the year for airlines – the summer holidays. Almost the entire population of Europe appears to be heading to, or coming from, an airport.

The next few months are going to be a delicate juggling act for some operators, who will have to cope with the increased number of customers without their Boeing 737 MAX fleet to help carry the load. But given the length of the on-going crisis, many airlines made contingency plans months ago by borrowing or leasing aircraft to plug the gaps.

The causes surrounding the tragic MAX accidents have been debated, discussed and dissected in the smallest detail. Critics have not wasted any opportunity to express their opinions to any media outlet willing to listen over the past few months. Some of these experts appeared to jump to conclusions far removed from the actual circumstances.

And Boeing has had to sit there and take the flak. Some aviation analysts even openly discussed the company being in danger of losing its commercial lead to Airbus and that Boeing’s order book is looking less than healthy.

Admittedly, a number of airlines have cancelled or delayed their orders for the MAX series. But what must not be forgotten is that Boeing is currently dealing with one of the most decisive periods in its entire history. It’s working through ways in which to resolve the technical aspects of the MAX tragedies and also the sensitivities of the families that lost loved ones in the Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines accidents.

As it presented the relevant technical solutions for evaluation by the FAA, Boeing also reached out to the grieving families. Understandably, those families’ reactions weren’t always positive, but at least the aircraft manufacturer has not distanced itself from its moral responsibilities.

The shockwaves from these two accidents, I believe, will fundamentally change the way aircraft manufacturers and airlines operate together. Some of the decisions that emerge from this crisis may not be beneficial to one particular party or the other. But the bottom line will be the safety of the passengers boarding these aircraft and the aircrew that operate them on a daily basis.

In time, Boeing’s 737 MAX will re-enter widespread service but, for some operators, it may be under a different name. Ryanair has already taken this step by re-branding their newly ordered examples as the Boeing 737-8200.

Boeing is only too aware that the eyes of the aviation industry are focused on it.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the LARA e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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