United Airlines Shareholder Meeting: CEO Oscar Munoz Will Be On Board The First Boeing 737 Max Flight After It’s Cleared To Fly

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United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz will put his money where his mouth is and pledged to be on board the first Boeing 737 Max flight after it’s been cleared to take off again by the FAA.

Munoz made this promise at the annual United Airlines shareholder meeting in an effort to reassure customers about the aircraft.

United is a big customer of the 737 Max and having the trust of passengers in the safety and reliability of the aircraft will be vital for the future of this model.

CBS News Chicago (access here) reported about the promise made by Munoz yesterday:

Seeking to reassure travelers, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has promised to board his company’s first Boeing 737 Max jet to take flight once regulators clear the aircraft to fly again.

Munoz made the promise after Chicago-based United’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday. He said the company also will take steps to educate customers and employees about why United feels it’s safe to resume flights of the 737 Max.

Chicago-based Boeing has said it completed its software fix for the anti-stall system implicated in two deadly crashes in October and March, which killed a total of 346 people. However, the company has not yet submitted final paperwork to regulators or scheduled a mandatory test flight with Federal Aviation Administration experts. …

Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell repeated that his agency won’t lift the grounding of the Max until it is safe. He said people eventually will get back on the plane.

“Is public confidence shaken right now? Maybe,” Elwell told reporters, adding that once the FAA finishes its study of Boeing’s changes to the plane, “the public will fly it and the public will be confident in U.S. and global travel.”

Three U.S. airlines — Southwest, American and United — have 72 Max jets and hoped that with the software fix and additional training for pilots, they could be flying again by August.

The jets are meanwhile parked in the desert until airlines are ready to take them up into the skies again with the degree of confidence required for the safe transportation of passengers and employees.

Conclusion

The degree of confidence exhibited by consumers will be another matter though. It’ll take more than one publicity flight by United’s CEO to reinstate trust in the embattled aircraft. That being said, customers are usually listening to a cheap price more than to concerns over safety.

Maybe a promotion with $29.99 flights to Hawaii or Florida would help cure the 737 Max phobia very quickly. I bet people would race to buy these tickets. Nothing would keep one from “Same Day Confirm” these flights to other aircraft types though (unless the promo price is in Basic Economy only that would prohibit SDC). Just an idea…

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12 Comments

  1. Aircraft are designed to be safe for, say, 99.999%. if there is a design flaw, its safety drops to 99.9%, not to zero :/
    Boarding a 99.9% safe aircraft is still safer than driving by car. But it doesn’t change the reality that aircraft is less safe now.

    In the above paragraph 99.999% safe is 737 NG. 99.9% safe is 737 MAX. Would you still want to board on a 737 MAX unless you have some extra personal benefit from it? Just asking.

    • It’s much, much, safer than that. If commercial aviation in the US was 99.999% safe, a passenger plane would crash about twice per week (30,000ish flights/day, 99.999% safe = accident every 100,000 flights or 3.33 days). The MAX is somewhere around there I believe (maybe even slightly safer), air travel in general in the US is about six nines (99.999999%) safe, depending on how you measure it.

      • Numbers were just example. I wanted to ask, would you fly and let your family fly with an aircraft when you know that its design makes it unstable and that there are safer alternatives, for example 737 NG? I would not.

        The MAX accidents revealed that MAX has a design flaw which makes it aerodynamically unstable at higher AOA. A software fix just compensates it; it cannot and does not improve the aerodynamics of the aircraft.

        Civil aviation transport aircraft needs to be inherently stable, but MAX is not.

        Please read this comment from a professor of aeronautics at MIT:

        As I understand it, at high angles of attack the Nacelles — which are the tube shaped structures around the fans — create aerodynamic lift. Because the engines are further forward, the lift tends to push the nose up — causing the angle of attack to increase further. This reinforces itself and results in a pitch-up tendency which if not corrected can result in a stall. This is called an unstable or divergent condition. It should be noted that many high performance aircraft have this tendency but it is not acceptable in transport category aircraft where there is a requirement that the aircraft is stable and returns to a steady condition if no forces are applied to the controls.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2019/04/02/mit-expert-highlights-divergent-condition-caused-by-737-max-engine-placement/#574af28840aa

  2. I always wonder how air travel is safer than land transport concluded. just because the fatalities of ar travel are lower than road accidents? If that logic holds, may I say air travel is much safer than selfie because there are thousands death caused by selfie taken.

  3. There are multiple issues at play.
    The rest of world used to regard US FAA as a gold standard.
    Finding out they actually had no oversight on this aircraft, has shaken that.
    The rest of world may not allow the 737 max to fly again, regardless of US

    It is a flawed design, depending on computer and sensors to make it “safe”.
    The large engine nacelles are too far forward and produce lift at high angle of attack.
    Good luck winning the public back….it honestly needs to be scrapped.

    • And the Boeing CEO as well as FAA executives involved need to go to prison…….The gross negligence of depending on a SINGLE sensor with a software system that caused crashes is ….. appalling . We wont even discuss the attempt to pretend it was just a 737, no training, etc.

      • The only reason the airlines want it back in service…is money. They have $$$ tied up and stand to lose it. Oh well, lifes tough. Should have bought a proven model plane…….complacency is their stockholders problems, not the consumers.

        • “Should have bought a proven model plane”…like the 737 you mean? They did. The engines further forward changes the center of gravity. That’s nothing that can’t be dealt with simple trim and yoke inputs. No passenger transport plane should be flying at high AOA to begin with; they aren’t combat aircraft.

          Install multiple sensors and fix the reliance of MCAS. Have one switch that disables it completely, since it didn’t seem to be necessary most of the time with the aircraft flying for almost a year and a half without issue.

          Btw no need to reply to yourself constantly to drone on and on. Simply edit the original reply.

  4. Hope he is sitting way in the back on a 5 hr transcontinental flight so he can enjoy the roomy comfort in cattle class and also use the tiny restrooms.

  5. No doubt he will have the most experienced and trained pilot who has excellent manual flying skills. I still think the accidents occurred by the pilots not having the basic piloting skills of being able to fly manually during an emergency event.

  6. 100% correct Mike. Boeing’s failures are many. To not disclose MCAS to the FAA, the Airlines and their pilots is outright deception to hide this major design flaw. Zero documentation in the cockpit, zero training, zero MCAS in the simulator, etc. After 1 crash, the airlines and pilots expressed concern, after 2 crashes, Boeing (and the FAA) were the last on the planet to ground the MAX.

    Profits over people indeed, any business that would kill hundreds of people with their product would surely be up for investigation and should be facing criminal charges for the MANY issues that the CEO, with his full knowledge (and probably full direction) made to put safety aside, look like a hero with his 5,000 new aircraft orders and go take a nice holiday while Boeing shares go sky high….

    Boeing has expressed zero public remorse, apologies or commitments to the families of these two tragic crashes. Zero attempt to even pretend to care about the victims.

    Finally, like anyone person or company that acts in bad faith, who lies to get ahead or steals from others, Boeing surely has other bad decisions hiding in their HQ in Chicago, with their suppliers around the world and at their once World Class assembly center in Seattle. How long can they keep these hidden and how many more need to perish to get the beyond the Boeing/FAA rhetoric?

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