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Boeing lauds 737 Max as ‘the safest airplane’

The troubled aircraft has seen a new wave of groundings and safety checks in light of last month’s midair blowout

The Boeing 737 Max passenger airliner is “the safest airplane” in the market, according to Dave Schulte, Boeing’s commercial marketing managing director for the Asia-Pacific region.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow this week, Schulte acknowledged that the 737 Max 9 – which currently faces questions over a midair blowout – “is by far the most scrutinized airplane in the world, in the history of aviation.” He also said, as cited by CNBC, that he flew on a 737 Max with his family in the previous week and that the plane was “quite full.” 

Boeing did not present any commercial aircraft at the air show as it grapples with the fallout of the mid-flight blowout incident of a section of the fuselage of a 737 Max 9 aircraft in January. The US Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a series of restrictions on 737 MAX jets since then, temporarily prohibiting the company from expanding their production over passenger safety concerns.

Asked about China’s latest domestic passenger jet C919, which made its inaugural flight outside China on Sunday at the show, Schulte claimed that the airplane is similar to offerings that are already in the market. His comments echo those of Christian Scherer, chief executive officer of Airbus’s commercial aircraft business, who also said this week that the C919 is “not very different” from what Airbus and Boeing already have. The Chinese jet is “not going to rock the boat in particular,” Scherer said. He, however, acknowledged that the C919 was a “legitimate effort” by China and that “the market is large enough for competition.” 

READ MORE: Chinese competitor to Boeing and Airbus makes international debut

The C919’s manufacturer, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), said at the show on Tuesday that it has signed a deal with China’s Tibet Airlines and finalized an order for 40 of the narrow-body jets.

Industry experts have been claiming that the Chinese jet could become the newest challenger to the commercial aviation duopoly of Boeing and Airbus. Northcoast Research analyst Chris Olin previously told CNBC that experts believe “the problems at Boeing, specifically the 737 Max, present an early opportunity for Comac.” 

The US aerospace giant Boeing has seen the latest wave of groundings and safety checks after it already found itself in hot water several years ago after plane crashes in Ethiopia (2019) and Indonesia (2018), killing a total of 346 people. The two tragedies resulted in a 20-month-long grounding of 737 MAX aircraft.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

February 23, 2024 at 12:09PM

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