B737 Max 8: Orders on the Line

After two fatal crashes involving the Boeing B737 Max 8 aircraft – one operated by Lion Air and the other by Ethiopian Airways – some Boeing customers have indicated they may cancel their orders of the plane.

Courtesy Getty Images

Garuda Indonesia which currently owns one of the jets became the first airline to seek cancellation of a multi-million dollar order for 49 aircraft.

Garuda spokesperson Ikhsan Rosan said: “The reason is that Garuda passengers in Indonesia have lost trust and no longer have the confidence.”

However, unlike Kenya Airways which said it may switch to Boeing’s rival Airbus, Garuda indicated it would consider other Boeing planes instead.

VietJet is another carrier which may cancel its US$25bn order.

On the other hand, WestJet announced it would stick with its orders. Spokesperson Lauren Steward said deliveries of up to 37 planes would take place after “the grounding has been lifted and the aircraft is approved for re-entry into service by all regulatory bodies.” The airline was supposed to add two more planes to its fleet this year.

Boeing expects work on a new software to be installed on the Max 8 to be ready by the end of the month. However, it is uncertain as to how long more the plane will remain grounded. This will be dependent on the investigations’ findings of the actual cause of the crashes, hence whether the fix that Boeing is currently working on is adequate.

To be expected, airlines that operate a large fleet of the Max 8 will want to see the aircraft put back into service. In the near term, they will have to grapple with their customers’ perception and confidence in the plane. (See Can Boeing regain travellers’ confidence in its B737 Max 8 Jet? March 17, 2019)

Air Canada for one is treading cautiously as it announced updating of its schedule until at least 1 July to give its customers “some certainty when booking and travelling”.

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