Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Boeing Back on the Road with Huge 737MAX Order After Fatal Crashes

IAG Shows Faith in Supplier
Shipping News Feature
US – WORLDWIDE – Despite the well-publicised problems surrounding Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft, grounded after two MAX 8's crashed within months of each other killing 346 people, the company has now received an order from the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus amongst others, for a total of 200 model 8 and 10 aircraft.

The two fatal crashes have been fully investigated and it seems the problems lay within the new software system fitted, details of which were unfamiliar to pilots allegedly unaware of possible glitches, and left not knowing how to avoid catastrophe. An excellent analysis of the precise details can be seen in an article in the Verve.

In the wake of the disasters Boeing rival, Airbus, was seen to be making hay, itself receiving orders for 100 or so of its aircraft at the Paris International Airshow, one senses any jubilation at that news will be a little more muted in Toulouse today. IAG has long been a Boeing supporter but now has a large fleet of Airbus A320’s and boss Willy Walsh has said in the past he believes his company’s buying power should be used to encourage competition amongst the plane makers. He said of the new deal:

"We're very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG's short-haul fleet. We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators."

Critics say the MAX series was ‘rushed to market’ hence the tragic problems which ensued, but the model is claimed to be 14% more fuel efficient by Boeing than the previous incarnation. As to the carriage of freight, the changes are likely to make little difference. The MAX 8 and 10 carry around 178 and 230 passengers with cargo holds of around 43m3 but these, as with all new craft first have to accommodate baggage as a priority, and therefore space available for freight can vary accordingly.

The design of the planes means entry to the hold is tight and most paying cargo consists of smaller items, unlike the wide body jets that ply some of the longer routes, and which can accommodate much bigger pieces. Mail and parcel freight therefore makes up the bulk of commercial goods aboard narrow body jets like the 737 series, unless time sensitive cargoes such as pharma and seafood are involved.

Photo: Indian airline Jet Airways has been a big purchaser of the 737 MAX series.