Yesterday I wrote that American Airlines extended their Boeing 737 MAX cancellations through August 19. We do not know when the plane will return to the skies. Reports are that the FAA, last to ground the plane, doesn’t want to sign off on this alone and is trying to work in conjunction with international authorities.
American was clear that their conversations lead them to believe that the 737 MAX will be allowed to fly again before August 19, but their plan is to just use their couple dozen MAXs as spare aircraft until then.
Commenter chopsticks thinks this is a brilliant move (he thinks everything commercial airlines do is right, but in this case he’s insightful),
Given humans’ terrible ability to assess risk, I was wondering what would happen in the first few weeks after the MAX was (safely) returned to service. I figured there certainly would be some anti-MAX hysteria. I’m not entirely sure if it’s intentional, but AA’s summer strategy is a great way to combat this. Nobody will be “scheduled” to fly the MAX; it will just roll up to the gate and fly some unsuspecting pax. I’m guessing a handful will refuse to get on and post on social media. I doubt there will be much sympathy.
The 737 MAX has a branding problem, and people will be concerned flying it when it returns to service. President Donald Trump recognizes this problem and has advice for Boeing: just rename the plane.
What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name.
No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
When the President of the United States, himself a successful promoter whose primary asset is his brand, gives free marketing advice it’s actually worth listening to, even if he’s just cribbing it straight from Stringer Bell in The Wire. Their product was no good, people weren’t buying it, the solution? Just call it something else.
Regulators are inherently conservative and they aren’t going to sign off on a return to the skies unless they’re really sure of the fixes — it’s bad enough that an aviation disaster occurs, it’s even worse for a bureaucrat if it should happen again after they’ve explicitly examined and signed off on the strategy to avoid the incident.When the President of the United States, himself a successful promoter whose primary asset is his brand, gives free marketing advice it’s actually worth listening to, even if he’s just cribbing it straight from Stringer Bell in The Wire.
Other aircraft have had troubling starts and gone on to have long and successful careers. Would a new name help? There’s no question it was crucial to making AirTran née ValuJet a success.