Although only three U.S. airlines fly the now-grounded 737 MAX aircraft -- Southwest, American, and United -- other airlines have felt the impact.
Yesterday, in a speech to a group gathered in Atlanta for the Aviation Week Network's MRO Americas conference, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian expressed his concerns for the fallout from the two 737 MAX crashes: "I hope it doesn't set us back as an industry."
As we know, Lion Air Flight 610 -- a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft -- crashed on October 29, 2018, shortly after takeoff from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. All 189 passengers and crew died in the disaster.
Then, on March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 -- another Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft -- crashed soon after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew died in this latest disaster involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
After initially resisting calls to ground the Boeing 737 MAX, on March 13, 2019, the FAA did just that. And, a day later, Boeing suspended deliveries of the aircraft while it focused on determining the cause of the crashes and coming up with a fix.
Said Bastian at the conference, "I'm confident that Boeing will solve this issue. I think there will, no question, be lessons learned from this...I think we'll all learn from it." Continued Bastian,
We gotta get out of the world of cops and robbers. We're all on the same path here, and the better information and the more transparency we can offer on both sides...the safer our customers are.
According to Ed Bastian, the airline industry's relationship with the FAA is a strong one, and it has led to an enviable safety record. Said Bastian to reporters after his speech,
You think about what has given rise to our industry being the safest means of transportation to the world, and the U.S. being the leader. One of the ways we do it is we report all data in our operation to our regulator with complete transparency. It's a complete, seamless transfer.
While Bastian is confident that Boeing will solve the issue with its 737 MAX aircraft, unfortunately, it may take weeks or even months before the fix is delivered and tested, and 737 MAX aircraft are allowed to fly again.
With Southwest, American, and United losing millions of dollars because of the grounding of their 737 MAX airplanes, the fix can't come soon enough.