Aviation major Boeing has said that it is open to the idea of dropping ‘Max’ branding for its 737 planes, a Bloomberg report said. The report said that Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said that, “I'd say we're being open-minded to all the input we get.” The top official’s comment at Paris Air Show sparked massive speculations over rebranding. However there have been no official confirmation from Boeing. Earlier, the chief executive of Boeing had said the company made a "mistake" in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes of the top-selling plane killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the US aircraft maker tries to get the grounded model back in flight.
Interestingly, US President Donald Trump had advised the aviation major to go for rebranding. “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?” Trump said on Twitter around two months back.
In aftermath of the two fatal crashes and subsequent grounding, Boeing had said that its 737 MAX crisis had cost $1 billion in the first quarter. The Chicago-based company had to withdraw its 2019 profit forecast on continued uncertainty about when the grounded jets will fly again after two deadly crashes. The US aerospace giant also cited spending on the software fix and related training, according to an earnings presentation released Wednesday that listed the $1 billion in 737 program costs.
The company entered crisis mode with the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet, which along with an October Lion Air crash claimed 346 lives.
Despite the crisis, many analysts are optimistic about Boeing’s long-term prospects, given robust global aerospace demand. They expect Boeing will be successful in finding a fix to the 737 MAX’s problems that enables the plane to return to service and continue to command the interest of airlines. However, some caution that Boeing’s reputation has taken a hit from the crisis that could deteriorate further with any additional missteps.
(With agency inputs)