During a wide ranging discussion on the full service travel industry model, that Tui has managed to navigate above all others while Thomas Cook failed, the 737MAX saga inevitably came up.
Tui claims that its been about making sure they’re aware of customer tastes and change, that they offer quality and embrace the digital and physical models available to them and their likely customers. It’s why they succeed and Thomas Cook failed.
However the one thing Tui is very aware of – because of that embrace of digital and human feedback, is the deep public unease around the 737MAX – put simply customers know more about it and its problems than any other aircraft issue in the history of aviation.
So much so in fact, that they seemed to indicate they wouldn’t mind if Boeing chose renaming the aircraft was the best way forward, but pointed out it was Boeing’s choice. This wouldn’t be unheard of – already new 737MAX aircraft for RyanAir are labelled as 737-8200’s because of their 199 economy seating.
On the same day, it became clearly apparent that Boeing knew their were issues with the 737MAX years ago. Text messages between key staff demonstrated that knowledge of problems at Boeing existed back in 2016, yet Boeing continued to develop the aircraft, convincing the FAA there were no issues.
There seems to be a genuine feeling now that Boeing have gone far too far. Everything that comes out underscores the profit over safety issues that the Muilenburg regime at the company – now clearly coming to a slow end – was responsible for a fundamental collapse in common sense, decency and total lack of a moral compass. It seems to have infected most of the company, and was allowed to infect the FAA.
There is now such determination at the FAA to divorce itself from Boeing’s influence, through reticence to let the aircraft fly, that airlines are now accepting there will be no return to service before March 2020. Air Canada has just announced it’s removed the MAX out to the end of February from schedules. Others have already stripped it from January, and longer delays seem inevitable.