BOEING'S NEW PLANE IS COSTING AIRLINES AN EXTRA £16 PER PASSENGER
Some of the world's major airlines are bracing for the worst after one airline reported it was losing £16 per passenger every time it flew a plane, after the aircraft it was promised would save them thousands has become a headache.
Boeing's brand new 737 MAX was originally marketed as a savior for airlines - an aircraft which used much less fuel and could fly much longer distances. However, it's now becoming clear that this may not have been strictly true.
what's the problem?
In October 2018, the aviation world was shaken after one of Boeing's icon planes fell out of the sky and caused 189 deaths. Lion Air, which is one of the largest MAX customers, was forced to see one of its expensive new planes crash just minutes after taking off. Boeing was quick to blame Lion Air for reportedly failing to keep the aircraft airworthy, however when a second MAX crashed just five months later, heads began to turn. After the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, countries started to order airlines to stop flying their MAXs, eventually resulting in Boeing grounding the aircraft globally, so that they could work on a fix to the anti-staling software, known as MCAS, which has been identified to be causing the issues in the aircraft.
The grounding of the aircraft has caused thousands of flight cancellations around the world, and has placed airlines already battling high fuel prices into financial crisis.
In March, the airline TUI warned that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft would impact the airline massively. With a current fleet consisting of 15 Boeing 737 MAX, making TUI the largest operator of the aircraft type in Europe, and much of their routing relying on these aircraft, the airline would struggle to make alternative plans to fly their customers to their holiday destinations.
In a statement made by the airline, they claimed that if the aircraft is un-grounded in mid-July, then the cost of the grounding of the aircraft would take a toll of €200 million to the airline, however they also claimed that an additional €100 million would also take a toll for the covering of the summer season from July to September. - The airline also claimed that their earnings would take a hit for the 2019 year, with 26% lower than the €1.18 billion which was achieved in 2018.
American Airlines also made claims earlier in April about the grounding of the aircraft, with a current fleet of 24 Boeing 737 MAX, making it the second largest operator of the type in the United States. - A spokesperson for the airline said "The financial costs of this disruption in future periods cannot be forecasted at this time and will be dependent upon a number of factors, including the period of time the aircraft are unavailable and the circumstances of any reintroduction of the aircraft to service."
Delta Airlines does not currently operate the Boeing 737 MAX, although nearly did in 2017 when they were searching for a narrow-bodied jet to join their fleet, they eventually opted for the Airbus A321neo. Boeing Chairman Dennis Muilenburg said to the company to "establish a committee to review our companywide policies and processes for the design and development of the airplanes".
Norwegian Air, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the start of the year, has stated that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft could halt the airline from reaching profit for 2019. The airline currently has 18 737 MAX, and the MAX grounding has lost the airline 1.49 billion kroner (£133.7 million), compared to 46.2 million kroner flast year. The airline has made plans that enable the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to be grounded until August, with Chief Executive Bjorn Kjos stating "There is a saying that you should hope for the best and plan for the worst, so we are planning to have the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on the ground throughout August."
Southwest Airlines has had to cancel over 10,000 flights due to the grounding of the aircraft. With 34 Boeing 737 MAX jets in its fleet, the airline has lost more than $200 million in revenue of the first quarter, the majority of which is due to the aircraft grounding. Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly stated "We're not happy about this MAX situation obviously, who is. Two tragic accidents. - Our negotiations and our relationship with Boeing is something I'll take up with the company privately."