Boeing CEO David Calhoun has ruled out removing the MAX name from its troubled 737 jet.
Front-page coverage of two deadly crashes involving the 737 MAX and its subsequent worldwide grounding has raised questions of how safe passengers will feel in setting foot onto a Boeing 737 MAX flown by any airline.
But Boeing isn't shying away from the MAX brand of its next-generation 737, which is the shot-range workhorse of airlines around the world.
“There is no rebranding going on,” affirms Boeing CEO Calhoun “There’s nothing cute going on.”
Calhoun's comments came as Irish carrier Ryanair, already a solid 737 MAX customer with 135 orders placed, announced on December 3 that it would take another 75 MAX jets.
Ryanair raised eyebrows when its marketing materials referred to the aircraft as the "737-8200", sparking Calhoun's comments on the future of the MAX family brand.
However, Ryanair's order is for a 'high-density' version of the 737 MAX 8 which Boeing has dubbed the 737 MAX 200, as it seats up to 200 passengers in an all-economy configuration with slimline seats, and even requires an additional pair of exit doors due to the higher passenger capacity. This skew is formally designated as the Boeing 737-8200.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would also consider placing an order for the super-sized MAX 10, which has room for around 230 passengers using standard single-class seating.
Closer to home, Virgin Australia's $2.5 billion order for 48 Boeing 737 MAX jets – the first of which was due to be delivered in July 2021 – remains on ice, with a spokesman for the airline telling Executive Traveller "we are continuing discussions with Boeing around our 737MAX order as well as any future fleet requirements."
Singapore Airlines' regional arm Silkair, which is now being folded back into its parent superbrand, had six MAX 8 jets in hand and 31 more on order when Boeing grounded the MAX in March 2019.