Boeing ‘Needs To Drop’ MAX Name, Házy Says
Air Lease Corporation chairman Steven Udvar Házy is encouraging Boeing to publicly refer to the 737 MAX by its more formal numerical designations, such as the 737-8 and 737-9, calling the name “MAX” a “clear liability.”
As Boeing seeks to re-certify the Boeing 737 MAX with the FAA by the end of 2020 and return the aircraft to service next year following a global grounding implemented in March 2019 after two fatal accidents, there has been continuing discussion about whether Boeing should drop the MAX moniker. “I hope that name will go away very soon,” Házy told Aviation Week in an exclusive interview.
Házy believes there is a “huge market” for the MAX given the popularity of the 737NG aircraft it is replacing and the fact that it is now likely to be at least 2030 before Boeing or Airbus develop a new-model aircraft.
But the public will forever associate the MAX with the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that precipitated the global grounding, he said.
Házy said he has told Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun that the MAX is a “useless name.”
“I told Calhoun, ‘It’s not an asset to Boeing. It’s a clear liability.’ In [regulatory] documents, it is just 737-9 ... I know it’s hard for Boeing to drop that name, but it doesn’t serve any useful purpose,” Házy said.
Házy noted that Boeing has attempted to market the Boeing 787 as the “Dreamliner,” but the widebody aircraft is now commonly referred to in the media and in the airline industry as simply the 787.
“Hopefully, if everything goes well, we will have FAA re-certification by the end of the year, but I can’t make promises. It’s not in my jurisdiction,” Házy said. The big question will be whether foreign regulators require “additional modifications as we get into January and February  beyond what FAA believes is reasonable” before the aircraft can return to service globally, Házy said.
As of June 30, Air Lease Corporation had 15 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet as well as 88 737NG aircraft. It has 121 737-8s/-9s on order.