Making the B737 MAX fly again will not bring customers back, says GlobalData

After months of speculations, the FAA has issued a directive regarding the return to flight of the B737 MAX – Boeing’s lifeline in the fuel-efficient single-aisle segment where it competes with Airbus’ A320neo in a shrinking passenger market. The directive, a shortlist of attainable technical requirements for recertification, is good news for Boeing who has long been gambling on a return to flight for its best-selling narrow-body before the end of 2020, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments:“This news intervenes with British Airways’ and Qantas’ announcement last month that they were to retire their B747 fleets and that the B787 Dreamliner could close one of its two main assembly lines (North Charleston in South Carolina or Everett in Washington) to face collapsing demand. The post-COVID-19 market looks bleak for wide-body aircraft, but opportunities for narrow-body designs such as the B737 or the A320 remain comparatively more open.”

Boeing is eager to not let Airbus occupy alone the single-aisle segment. The European plane-maker has indeed serious arguments to dominate what remains of the short-haul market with its A321XLR.

Jouan continues: “In spite of encouraging signs from the FAA regarding the B737 MAX’s return to flight, Boeing has still a long way to go to recover from its past year’s hurdles. The MAX has disproportionately suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of air travel. Its order book was especially targeted by customers playing for their survival – for instance, SMBC Aviation Capital deferred 68 B737 MAX and Irish leasing company Avolon cancelled a cumulated total of 102 airplanes since last April. This sequence of events reveals a crisis of confidence from customers and suggests that the MAX’s troubles extend far beyond the current COVID-19 crisis.”

If you would like to find out more, send your questions to Rebecca Panks, PR Executive at GlobalData (pr@globaldata.com)

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