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The eco brief. The Boeing 737 MAX will be able to take off again


The cockpit of a Boeing 737 Max at Le Bourget airport (Seine-Saint-Denis), June 21, 2017 (ERIC PIERMONT / AFP)

In the midst of the air transport crisis with the pandemic, it is a real breath of life and great hopes for the American aircraft manufacturer. Two Boeing 737 MAX, one of the Indonesian company Lion Air, on October 29, 2018, the other of Ethiopian Airlines, on March 10, 2019, had crashed, killing a total of 346 people. In question, a flight control software.

The authorities believe that the necessary changes have been made, but it will take a few weeks or even a few months before full commercial recovery, regardless of the crisis. American Airlines is planning a first flight at the end of December between Miami and New York.

Boeing estimates that this 737 MAX crisis cost it around 20 billion dollars (nearly 17 billion euros) between the direct costs of stopping production of the aircraft, which was the locomotive of the group’s sales, compensation for client companies and families of victims. Finally, we will have to regain the trust of customers. A real commercial challenge for customers, airlines (the plane cannot be resold as easily as before) as well as passengers (who will have to be reassured. Convincing them to fly aboard a plane which we simply changed) the software costs a lot of marketing money, for example the teams would work on changing the name of the aircraft.

It’s a breath of fresh air, too, for Boeing’s subcontractors. Many French SMEs are involved in the construction of engine parts for reactors or the interior fittings of the B737 MAX. Latécoère, Figeac-Aéro, Crouzet, Daher and Safran, whose star engine (the Leap) developed with General Electric is fitted to all 737 MAXs. Boeing currently has 450 such aircraft in stock. The priority will be to sell them before building new ones.

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