After three months of being grounded following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, the 737 Max may be up for a rebranding.
Boeing’s chief financial officer Greg Smith said on Monday at the Paris Air Show that the aerospace company is considering changing the name of its now infamous aeroplane, Bloomberg reports.
“I’d say we’re being open-minded to all the input we get,” Smith told Bloomberg. “We’re committed to doing what we need to do to restore it. If that means changing the brand to restore it, then we’ll address that. If it doesn’t, we’ll address whatever is a high priority.”
The statement comes two months after American president Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that Boeing should rebrand the 737 Max.
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
Boeing did not immediately respond to a Gizmodo request for comment, but the company told Bloomberg it is prioritising getting the aircraft safely in the air. “Our immediate focus is the safe return of the Max to service and re-earning the trust of airlines and the travelling public,” Boeing told Bloomberg, following the Smith interview. “We remain open-minded to all input from customers and other stakeholders, but have no plans at this time to change the name of the 737 Max.”
As CNN reports, Smith tried to use the Paris Air Show to reassure hopeful customers that the 737 Max (or whatever it will be called) will be back in service soon.
“Words simply cannot express the sorrow and the sympathy that we feel for the families and the loved ones of those that were lost in these tragic accidents,” Smith told reporters, according to CNN. “We’ve been working with the FAA [US Federal Aviation Administration) and regulators around the globe to ensure that we’re answering all of their questions and addressing any concerns that they may have.”
But as Boeing was on the defensive, its competitor Airbus revealed that it had received 100 orders for new planes, and unveiled its new jet, the single-aisle, long-range A321XLR that is supposed to enter service in four years, according to CNN. Last week, CNN reported that Boeing had received no new orders in two months. In good news for the company, Amazon announced on Tuesday that it’s agreed to lease 15 more aircraft from Boeing for its cargo fleet.
As CNN points out, aircraft manufacturers have never changed aeroplane names following major crashes. But the 737 Max has likely received much worse publicity than any other specific aircraft—prompting a response from the travel industry. In March, following the first 737 Max crash, travel-planning platform Kayak started allowing customers to filter based on the plane model.
Featured image: Mario Tama (Getty)