Major airlines all over the globe have a serious problem on their hands, and it’s not just the fact that the Boeing 737 Max remains grounded months after a pair of deadly crashes claimed hundreds of lives. Once the defunct planes are once again deemed sky-worthy, airlines will have to convince travelers that it’s okay to climb aboard, and the name “737 Max” is a big red flag for fliers.
Boeing has toyed around with the idea of rebranding the planes, giving them a new designation and hoping that travelers will just put the whole tragic saga behind them, but the company hasn’t made any big moves on that front just yet. In the meantime, some airlines are reportedly considering calling the planes by a different name in order to regain the public’s trust.
A CNN report citing unnamed sources “with knowledge of the issue” claims that some airlines are considering calling the 737 Max by the names “737-8 or 737-9” in an effort to put the haunting crashes behind them.
The report also notes that these changes may come from airlines in countries other than the United States. Both American Airlines and Southwest have pledged to not rebrand their 737 Max fleet, while United hasn’t offered any concrete decision one way or the other.
It’s likely, according to analysts who spoke with CNN, that airlines will monitor the reaction of the public to the 737 Max once it’s ready to fly again. From there, if passengers seem largely unwilling to set foot in the jet, they may change their strategy regarding branding.
The tragic crashes of two 737 Max aircraft claimed the lives of 346 people, and flight control software has been blamed in both crashes. Boeing has already rolled out some updates to its planes’ computers, but the aircraft will remain on the ground until the company and the FAA are satisfied with the safety measures in place.