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.
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.
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…