Union representatives for American Airlines crews say they are literally being begged to avoid postings on the 737MAX when it goes back into service.
The perception of the MAX from the people who might have to fly on it every day is of a grossly flawed airliner that should never have been allowed in the skies.
The public largely share the view it will never truly be safe.
Boeing are being accused of what looks remarkably like a coordinated lobbying campaign to get the aircraft back in the skies. Routine pressure in public and the press suggests constantly, that it would be a disaster if the 737MAX is delayed any further. It’s a constant underlying pressure to control and influence the narrative.
Southwest pilots are suing for $100m in lost pay, saying they’re denied the opportunity to work by the groundings.
Yet the alternatives to the MAX with all the billions spent on it are non-existent. It’s either that or nothing. Airbus can’t fill the space with new aircraft even if they wanted to, it’s industrial base couldn’t cope.
Boeing’s issue is the billions it’s costing it to produce aircraft at 42 per month without taking in any payment for them, then sitting them out in a parking lot.
EASA is looking at realistically March before it will sign off the MAX in Europe. If the FAA does approve it by mid-December, it will take months to get the hundreds of grounded and new construction aircraft back in the air. Most US majors have blocked them out of their schedules until mid-March.
And what of the crews who don’t want to fly on it? How far are they prepared to go to avoid it? What will the airlines do to make them?
The airlines seem to not want to say: in the end that’s a no-win scenario, bullying people to fly on a publicly shamed aircraft doesn’t look so good.
It doesn’t help when they will let passengers choose to fly on it or not at no cost.
Nobody has ever faced such a universally comprehended safety issue over an aircraft. It’s a new and so far unique global phenomena. And it’s still an issue we’ll all watch with interest as the saga unfolds.