Recall that the reason that the world turned its back on the 737s was their two crashes that occurred in the six-month gap: the crash of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 in October 2018 in Indonesia and the exact same tragedy that happened in March this year in Ethiopia. Victims, respectively - 189 and 157 people. There are no survivors ... Both aircraft crashed under suspiciously similar circumstances - almost immediately after takeoff. The situation was extremely complicated by the fact that both crashed liners were brand new, their service life was some couple of months. Therefore, it was decidedly impossible to blame everything on the wear and tear of the aircraft or poorly performed repair work. The error or unprofessionalism of the pilots was not discussed either. Subsequently, it became clear that the cause of the accidents really lay completely outside the plane of the “human factor” or the misuse of the ill-fated “sides”. However, we will return to this issue somewhat lower.
The reaction followed immediately - two plane crashes, which happened in a row, and even almost "carbon copy", left no room for talking about "accident", "fatal coincidence" and similar things. The operation of the 737s was immediately abandoned in Europe - Great Britain, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway. Further, as they say - according to the list. The French, Germans, Austrians and British reacted most sharply of all, immediately closing their skies to these planes. However, later the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) joined the case at the continental level and the Boeing 737 MAX became "persona non grata" in the airspace of the entire Old World. Let us recall that the problems did not end there. Flights of the 737s were banned not only by Russia and Turkey, the countries of the Middle East, but also by the states of Asia. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and others - this was, of course, unpleasant for the corporation. But the liners that have "landed" indefinitely in China, India, Australia have already become a serious blow. The Chinese comrades, who are not used to standing on ceremony with anyone in the process of defending their interests, demanded that Boeing compensate for the losses incurred by the airlines of the Celestial Empire due to the downtime of problem vehicles. The figure turned out to be terrifying ...
As you might guess, the USA and Canada held out the longest, defending the “domestic producer” with foam at the mouth and assuring that the disasters that killed more than three hundred people were nothing more than annoying misunderstandings. However, under pressure from the public and the aviation trade unions, they surrendered, too, sending the 737s "for fun." Moreover, Washington had to start a serious investigation into the causes of the disasters at the Senate level. It should be noted that at the beginning of this year, only the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model was in operation by more than 45 airlines around the world, to which 350 such aircraft were delivered. After the almost total decommissioning of them, the manufacturer corporation faced a real prospect of paying colossal penalties - especially if it turns out that the accidents were due to its direct or indirect fault. Looking ahead, let us clarify - this is exactly how it turned out ... As a result, in just a few days of the tragic March, Boeing “fell in price” by more than 26 billion dollars. Its market capitalization has plummeted from more than $ 238 billion to $ 212 billion, and its shares have fallen in value by 47 billion!
Never take off?
It would seem that time has passed, fears have subsided, the reasons and problems have been named and seem to have been eliminated ... However, the Boeing Corporation has lost the main thing - the trust of its own customers. The other day it became known about the first airline to terminate a rather impressive contract for the purchase of a batch of 737s. Unpleasant news came from the Middle East - the Saudi airline Flyadeal (a subsidiary of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines), which previously entered into an agreement for the supply of fifty Boeing 737 MAX, has officially announced its rejection of the deal. Moreover, at last month's Paris air show, Flyadeal representatives agreed to purchase an Airbus A320neo - three dozen to begin with and another twenty later. The reasons for the decision were not announced, but this is most likely due to the fact that they do not need an explanation. The Arabs, who highly value their security, have no desire to face new "surprises" and deadly "improvements" from Boeing. And this, most likely, is only the "first swallow".
The problem is not simply that, as established by the investigation, the cause of both air crashes was the MCAS program, which intercepted control of the aircraft in a situation when, in its electronic opinion, it was necessary to align the raised nose of the aircraft ... The trouble is that, firstly By installing this computer "trick" Boeing tried to compensate for its own serious miscalculation - a shift in the installation point of aircraft engines, which seriously disturbed the alignment of the entire aircraft. This, of course, is simpler and, most importantly, much more economical than remodeling the entire plane, eliminating the "jamb" of developers and designers ... Secondly, (and this is perhaps the main thing), the corporation did not find it necessary to inform about the vile "innovation »Neither the management of the airlines that bought 737s with a trick, nor the technicians, nor, let alone the pilots themselves. In the last seconds of their lives, they unsuccessfully tried to fight the enraged computer, not understanding what was going on at all ... Who can guarantee that even, as it has been repeatedly and swornly promised, MCAS Boeing will do it really conscientiously? And at the same time it will not “solder” any other killer program into the plane ?!
It is not surprising that the same European Aviation Safety Agency comes up with more and more new requirements for Boeing to return the 737s to EU air routes. In fact, according to experts, we are talking about a complete revision of the entire spectrum of technical support for the operation of this liner. Europeans in extremely harsh form are demanding evidence that on board will not remain uncontrollable MCAS, or anything even close like that. Without this, the “restoration of rights” in the Old World of the Boeing 737 MAX is out of the question. It is very likely that EASA is determined to make every effort to ensure that this never happens at all. It is not surprising - after all, the European Airbus and American Boeing for decades have been fierce competition for leadership in the market of passenger airliners, while going "head to head." Recently, Washington has tried to turn the tide in its favor in a manner that has become commonplace during the presidency of Donald Trump - accusing Europeans of “dishonesty”, dishonest methods of struggle and so on, threatening, as usual, the imposition of sanctions and other restrictions. It would be better if he didn’t do this ...
Using not a far-fetched, but a very real pretext, the Europeans seem to firmly intend to "put the squeeze on" overseas competitors, seriously pushing them out of their positions. It is unlikely that even such major troubles with one of the models (albeit extremely popular and demanded in the world earlier) will be able to finally "bury" such a giant as Boeing. However, the 737 MAX can most likely read a prayer "for peace." If the corporation comes to the conclusion that it will be too expensive to remake this model to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of air carriers and regulatory organizations, it may never take off again. Moreover, considering that any serious emergency with this aircraft, if such happens in the future, will bury Boeing's business reputation completely and irrevocably.
The legendary 737, which turned 50 last year, has become the most commercially successful aircraft in world civil aviation history. By and large, it is thanks to the B-737, which was built more than 10 thousand units, Boeing Corporation has become one of the leaders in the aircraft industry. This model generated up to 60% of the company's total profit. Having lost the main source of income, the American giant risks finally losing the palm to the European Airbus. The Boeing 737, which “spawned” the leading aircraft building corporation, may also ditch it.