In its more than 50-year career, the 737 has never had such a critical period as last year, even when it was almost canceled in the 1970s. Since the crash of Lion Air’s 737 MAX 8 on October 29, 2018 , the Boeing aircraft only collects bad news.
Grounding since March and with a bug fix process that insists on not having a date to resolved, the jet stopped taking orders while its rival A320 racked up several orders. But the luck of the 737 seems to be changing.
In recent days, Boeing has revealed that it is meeting FAA requirements and is hoping that the aircraft will be able to fly again in December, although the return to operation will depend on pilots training to deal with changes to the MCAS software. was the main cause for both accidents.
This week during the Dubai Airshow, however, US planemaker can finally announce new customers for the 737 MAX. The first deal involves a firm order of 10 737 MAX 8 from SunExpress, a Turkish company controlled by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.
“We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable, and efficient aircraft. However, it goes without saying that this requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model, granted by all relevant authorities. Our utmost priority at SunExpress is and has always been safety,” says Jens Bischof, CEO of SunExpress.
Days later, Kazakhstan’s Air Astana signed a letter of intent for up to 30 confirmed 737 MAX 8 jets to be used by the group’s low cost subsidiary FlyArystan.
“Air Astana has had a strong relationship with Boeing ever since the airline started flying in 2002 with a pair of 737NGs. Today we operate both 757s and 767s and we believe the MAX will provide a solid platform for the growth of FlyArystan throughout our region, once the aircraft has been successfully returned to service,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana.
In addition to these announcements, Aviation Week has revealed that an unidentified customer has ordered 10 737 MAX 7 and 10 MAX 10 jets – the buyer’s name should be revealed in the coming weeks.
Problems with Southwest
The situation could be better, no doubt. It would be enough for the IAG group to confirm its intention to acquire 200 737 MAX as it advanced during the Paris Air Show in June. Owner of British Airways, Iberia and other companies such as the recently incorporated Air Europa, IAG has ceased to operate the Boeing jet and is now considering using it in conjunction with the A320.
While the outlook is no longer positive, Boeing still has to deal with difficulties with the 737 but this time from the NG series, caused by the 2018 Southwest plane problem. The jet, which flew from La Guardia Airport to Dallas, had loose parts of one of the engines that hit the fuselage and caused a depressurization. A passenger in the window hit by the wreckage died.