The crash of 737 MAX 8 jetliner in Ethiopia two weeks ago has evoked starkly different reactions depending on who you ask. Airlines have reacted in the same way. While Garuda mulls cancellation, flydubai digs in, and Norwegian fumes.
We’re still too early in the aftermath of the tragedy to understand what precisely happened to cause the deadly wreck. While evidence increasingly ties the Ethiopian crash to the same issued that plagued a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 that crashed months earlier, both accidents may have been avoided with better pilot training. French authorities have analyzed black box recordings and we should soon know more about what happened.
But airlines have responded to this incident in very different ways. Let’s take a look at how Garuda Indonesia, flydubai, and Norweigan have responded.
The flag carrier of Indonesia has ordered 20 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In the aftermath of the two crashes, including one on Indonesian soil, Garuda is considering what to do with open order. CEO Ari Askhara told reporters on Thursday:
Garuda is reconsidering its upcoming order of 20 Boeing 737 MAXs after the two Boeing crashes.
But no final decision has been made (Askhara added that Garuda will wait for the U.S. FAA to conclude its own investigation). In what may be a reprieve for Boeing, Garuda would likely convert its 737 MAX order to 787 Dreamliners. The threat of cancellation may also simply be a bargaining chip.
Meanwhile, flydubai has publicly stated the Boeing 737 MAX remains “integral” to its future strategy. While flydubai current only operates 13 737 MAXs (a combo of MAX 8s and MAX 9s), it has ordered 250, making it one of the largest MAX customers.
We recognize this is a unique and complex situation underpinned by safety and regulation. There are a number of procedural factors that our experienced teams are working through.
Flydubai continues to work closely with its regulator and Boeing and we value our long-standing relationship with these partners. Our MAX aircraft remain an integral part of our strategy for the future.
Finally, Norwegian is just angry. The airline has 18 737 MAX in its fleet and uses them primarily on transatlantic flights between the east coast of the USA and Europe. The grounding of these aircraft has forced it to cancel many flights (though accounts for just 1% of capacity). Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos pledged to send the bill to Boeing.
It is quite obvious we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.
Good luck on that…
Poor Norweigan…the carrier has had a lot of issues with Boeing, including with its 787 engines. A 737 MAX was also recently stranded in Iran for more than a month after encountering technical problems that forced an emergency landing.
Three airlines. Three very different reactions to the recent 737 MAX crash. The point is that airlines, like humans, will use tragedies to their own advantage. Here, it is payback time for Norwegian, a graceful way for Garuda to extract more concessions from Boeing, and a virtual non-issue from flydubai. Interesting times…