Red-flags raised over Boeing 737 MAX aircraft’s safety in light of two fatal accidents within five months is making airlines across the world reconsider their decisions to bet on the narrowbody model for their long-term strategies. Boeing said on Thursday the Chicago-headquartered firm was pausing the delivery of the 737 MAX until it came up with a solution, adding that “we are going to continue the production, but we are assessing our capacities”.
Friday, Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot’s CEO Vitaly Savelyev said will cancel its order of 20 Boeing 737 MAX planes unless Boeing is able to guarantee the plane’s safety by November. Aeroflot has ordered 20 Boeing 737 MAX planes for its low cost subsidiary Pobeda and Boeing is scheduled to begin delivering planes as soon as November this year.
Indonesian airline Garuda’s chief executive also said there was a “possibility” the airline would cancel its orders for 20 737 MAXs, with the final decision depending on what the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does. Indonesia’s Lion Air, which suffered the first 737 MAX crash, had said in December that it was considering cancelling orders for jet that killed 189 people on its flight.
Wednesday, FAA became one the last major regulatory authorities in the world to ground the aircraft.
Boeing has delivered over 350 of the 737 MAXs. In India, budget carrier SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate the new airliner. Both SpiceJet and Jet Airways did not respond to specific queries on whether the carriers were considering cancelling their orders with Boeing.
Jet Airways has placed orders for 225 737 MAX planes, while SpiceJet has a deal with Boeing for up to 205 aircraft, including at least 155 737 MAX 8 planes.
A senior Jet Airways official said that it was too premature to begin reconsidering the 737 MAX, adding that the airline will wait for a decision from the regulators over the plane’s safety .
Even as some airlines are considering cancelling their orders, there are also some who are supporting the aircraft. One of the largest 737 MAX customers, having ordered 250 jets – flydubai said on Thursday that the Boeing 737 MAX remained integral to its future strategy.