Aviation executive urges Boeing to ditch ‘MAX’ name for future planes

The chairman of a large aircraft leasing firm wants Boeing to ditch the MAX moniker for its long-grounded fleet of planes.

Steven Udvar-Hazy is the chairman of Air Lease, which has had 42 737 MAX jets stuck on the tarmac since March after two catastrophic crashes in five months killed 346 people.

The fleet, Udvar-Hazy said, is due for a “rebrand,” and he cited concerns of passengers being reluctant to fly on a plane that shared a name with the doomed aircraft.

“We’ve asked Boeing to get rid of that word MAX,” he said at the Airline Economics aviation finance conference. “I think that word MAX should go down in the history books as a bad name for an aircraft.”

Air Lease also has 150 MAX jets on order, although the plane may not be cleared to fly again until at least April, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have extended cancellations of MAX flights until June, at the earliest.

Udvar-Hazy added that the reaction to the plane’s return may vary in different parts of the world.

“Will people in the US after a few months forget about the accidents and think, ‘Oh, it’s just another 737,’ or are there going to be parts of the world where people are going to be more superstitious and it will take longer for them to erase that stigma?” he said.

Earlier this month, Boeing disclosed that Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted in December following the company’s botched response to the crashes, would walk away with $62.2 million.

The announcement came the same day 737 MAX fuselage and wing component supplier Spirit Aerosystems said it would be laying off more than 2,800 workers due to Boeing halting production of the aircraft.

With Post wires

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