It may seem as though there is not much to celebrate about within the aviation industry as the COVID-19 pandemic…
Boeing Closes First 737 MAX Deal in 2020, Cements New Aircraft Branding
Today, a press release by Boeing set off some alarms in the aviation industry: for the first time, an official statement from the company referred to the troubled 737 MAX as the Boeing 737-8 instead of the well known MAX 8 moniker the variant had carried since its inception.
The 737-8 identification is far from new, however. Brazil’s GOL Airlines, China’s Xiamen Airlines and Canada’s WestJet have already branded their aircraft that way. Ryanair also has branded its MAX as 737-8200, as the airline’s modified variant accommodates 200 seats has a name on its own. The most probable reason is that the company is finally grouping the different generations and that the MAX name will stay on for the generation of aircraft.
As with the Original — the Boeing 737-100 and 737-200 — Classic — the Boeing 737-300 to 737-500 — and Next Generation — the 737-600 to most recent 737-900 — if Boeing is to follow the naming convention, the MAX variants will follow the -7, -8, -9 and -10 conventions set before, matching the 777X variant denominations. It is still premature to infer that the company is dropping the MAX name, despite some eagerness expressed by aviation analysts, marketing specialists, and the President of the U.S.
More Good News
Besides this, the statement contains some much-needed positive news for Boeing, as it has secured the first deal for a 737 MAX since November 2019, when Sun Express closed a deal for 10 aircraft and an unidentified customer ordered 20 additional planes. Enter Air, a Poland-based charter carrier, has agreed to order two 737-8 and an option for two additional aircraft. When the new purchase agreement is fully exercised, Enter Air’s 737 MAX fleet will rise to 10 aircraft.
“Despite the current crisis, it is important to think about the future. To that end, we have agreed to order additional 737-8 aircraft. Following the rigorous checks that the 737 MAX is undergoing, I am convinced it will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come,” said Grzegorz Polaniecki, general director and board member, Enter Air.
Enter Air and Boeing have also finalized a settlement to address the commercial impacts stemming from the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet. While the details of the agreement are confidential, the compensation will be provided in a number of forms and staggered over a period of time.
“In the settlement with Boeing, we agreed to revise the delivery schedule for the previously-ordered airplanes in response to current market conditions. The specific terms of the settlement are strictly confidential, but we are pleased with the way Boeing has treated us as its customer,” added Polaniecki.
“We are humbled by Enter Air’s commitment to the Boeing 737 family. Their order for additional 737-8s underscores their confidence in the airplane and the men and women of Boeing,” Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, said in a statement. “We look forward to building on our decade-long partnership with Enter Air and working with the airline to safely return their full 737 fleet to commercial service.”
Boeing had been desperate for good news for the MAX as it moves forward with the re-certification process and works to stop the bleeding orders. In 2020, 416 airplane orders were canceled. When considering all deals that are at risk due to the economic conditions of the customers, that tally goes up to 448 aircraft written off. Still, the 737 MAX is going to be the cash maker for the company in the upcoming years, as more than 3500 orders are yet to be fulfilled.
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