Boeing Officially(ish) Rebrands The 737 MAX

Filed Under: Misc.

While this rebranding has been rumored for a while, it looks like it’s now more or less official.

Boeing slowly and subtly rebrands the 737 MAX

Boeing has today announced an order for up to four Boeing 737 jets by Polish airline Enter Air. Yes, the airline is ordering Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, but that’s not how they’re being described. These planes are being described as Boeing 737-8 aircraft. This is clearly part of a very slow and subtle rebranding exercise for the troubled jet.

As the press release states:

Boeing and Enter Air today announced the Polish airline is expanding its commitment to the 737 family with a new order for two 737-8 airplanes plus options for two more jets.

An all-Boeing operator and Poland’s biggest charter carrier, Enter Air began operations in 2010 with a single 737 airplane. Today, the airline’s fleet includes 22 Next-Generation 737s and two 737 MAX airplanes. When the new purchase agreement is fully exercised, Enter Air’s 737 MAX fleet will rise to 10 aircraft.

“Despite the current crisis, it is important to think about the future. To that end, we have agreed to order additional 737-8 aircraft. Following the rigorous checks that the 737 MAX is undergoing, I am convinced it will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come,” said Grzegorz Polaniecki, general director and board member, Enter Air.

This is the first press release I know of from Boeing where the company refers to the 737 MAX as something different. As you can seen, Boeing is being subtle about this, and even uses the term 737-8 and 737 MAX 8 interchangeably.

To be clear, internally the plane has long been known as the 737-8, but to the public the “MAX” branding has been used. In this case Boeing is essentially just going back to the initial name of the plane, and dropping “MAX.”

There have been hints of this for a while…

The first signs of the Boeing 737 MAX being rebranded came over a year ago. At the time IAG (the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling) signed a letter of intent for up to 200 Boeing 737 MAXs, and IAG referred to these planes as the as the 737-8 and 737-10.

I would imagine that this was coordinated with Boeing, though at the time Boeing’s press release continued to use the full “MAX” branding. To my knowledge this Enter Air press release is the first one where Boeing specifically mentions the new branding.

If Boeing were to rebrand the 737 MAX, the new naming convention makes a lot of sense. It’s the same as how the 787 variants are known as the 787-8, 787-9, and 787-10. Similarly, the new 737 variants could be known as the 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10 (while older generation 737s were the 737-700, 737-800, 737-900, etc.).

President Trump suggested this rebranding last April, and I guess he was onto something…

Bottom line

The Boeing 737 MAX may once again be certified by later this year, after being grounded for nearly two years. Boeing and airlines have quite the uphill battle when it comes to convincing passengers that the plane is safe to fly.

While operating a safe aircraft is paramount, frankly I can’t blame Boeing for planning on rebranding the plane. Maybe with everything else going on in the world in 2020, people will actually be tricked by this and forget about the 737 MAX fiasco.

What do you make of the rebranding of the 737 MAX?

Comments
  1. what does the -8, -9, and -10 actually refer to? Can’t help but notice that nearly every recent aircraft has those numbers in the variants (eg. 747-8, 787-9, 777-7, a330-900, a350-1000 etc.).

  2. It makes no sense to not rebrand it and with everything going on this is a perfect time to do so. Cant wait to return flying on one of these, it was a joy to fly the (Max) on Southwest before they were grounded.

  3. @Jake

    From my understanding, the number 8 is considered lucky by the Chinese. They say it symbolizes wealth, fortune and prosperity. Another example of the 8 being used is on CXs flights to North America which is their bread and butter. Every digit begins with 8.

  4. @Jake, every type has it’s own story as to the numbering. For the 747-8, the -8 was intentionally given the “8” to help foster sales from airlines in China as “8” is a lucky number. For the 737s, the -8, -9, -10 is just a natural progression from their earlier series -100, -200, -300 and classics, and -700 and NGs. So the -8, -9, -10 just denotes the 4th generation MAX line. I can’t speak for the A350 series and why it is named as such nor for the triple 7 and why it starts with -8 and -9.

  5. @Jake

    It refers to the length and the passenger capacity. For example 8 is shorter and has less seats than 9 and 10

  6. @Joshua

    The main reason 8 is used from my understanding is to appease the Chinese and Asian customers as they are perceived to be where aviation would be a boom.

    They could’ve used the A360 as the A380 for sequencing purposes, but no.

  7. How is the aircraft going to be distinguished from the 737-800 and 737-900 that are now shortened to 738 and 739 when referring to those types?.

  8. @Mike O – actually CX’s bread and butter is the HKG-TPE route which prefixes 4 (which sounds like death in Cantonese.) Don’t read too much into the 8 prefix.

    And while one of the reasons for the A380 rather than the A360 was a nod to the 8 superstition, Airbus also liked it because the character itself represents the double deck fuselage of the aircraft (one round section atop another round section).

  9. @Joshua

    The plane is designated 747-8 with the “-8” being in reference to avionics technologies borrowed from the 787-8.

  10. Hi Ben, this is actually fake news. How is the MAX being rebranded if the name MAX appears 5 times in the press release? The -8 designation has been used since the airplane exists, there are five different variations of the Max.

  11. Yet another example of how Trump doesn’t exude class even when he is right. Instead, he sounds like a whiny child who thinks the world is against him. I’ve got news for him, he is right! Most of us are against him, which was demonstrated in the 2016 election where he lost the vote by 3 million people. At least he is starting to admit that he is the looser that we all thought he was.

  12. So how will flying customers be able to tell the difference between the “real” 737-8 and the rebranded max versions? This seems like a move to intentionally make it difficult for customers to determine which plane they are on. Can this be legal?

  13. Easy to tell the differences only on airline schedules. The 737-800 appears as 738 whereas the 737 Max series has an M in the middle i.e. 7M8, 7M9, 7MJ (737 Max 10) But no, no confusion at all between the 737-800 and 737-8 and 737-900 and 737-9.

  14. Maybe Boeing decided to drop the MAX name because the airlines wanted to do so. A while before Boeing decided to rebrand the MAX today, Ryanair wanted to drop the MAX name from the new “737-8200″s, and Thompson also wanted to get rid of the MAX branding from their newer 737s.

  15. Alex is correct about the bread and butter flights for CX between HK and TPE, but it is also the bread butter flights for CI and BR as well though. I remember CI using 777s on this route which is really great.

  16. Some of you are close to the truth, rando is the closest so far, and some of you are waaay off base.

    The truth is that the latest versions of the 737 model have always been known as the 737-8, 737-9, & 737-10, which are the official names that are recorded on the FAA Type Certificate (A16WE Rev65, available for all to view at faa.gov).

    “MAX” is a marketing name for the latest derivatives of the original 737, just as “MD-80” was used to describe the DC-9-80 series of airliners, which were derivatives of the original DC-9.

    You’ll also notice that the 737-10 is not on the FAA Type Certificate (yet), because this (longest) version is still completing certification tests, so is not an officially certified model (yet).

    Airline schedules (738, 7M8, etc), and various airline-related websites, are not official documents.

    If you want to review the differences of the various 737s over the years, try this:
    https://www.boeing.com/history/products/737-classic.page

  17. @ AdamW

    I know history isn’t popular these days but Bill Clinton won with about 45% of the popular vote. He was more than 10,000,000 votes short of a majority.

  18. If trump says to rebrand it, EVEN more reason to expect it to fail. Seal of (dis)approval, I’d be afraid to get in one

  19. @Airfarer

    Really? Glad to see you are following your fearless leader by spewing total rubbish.
    1996- Clinton wins (49%) over Dole (40%)
    1992- Clinton wins (43%) over Bush (39%) & Perot (19%)

    The scary thing is that you could have spent 30 seconds to verify your facts before demonstrating that facts no longer matter to you people.

  20. There was zero need to bring in Trump. But whatever fits your (political) narrative…
    – Endre

    I don’t think Ben was trying to make any veiled criticisms by mentioning it. It’s just a lighthearted callback to the President raising this idea in the public discourse a few months back. The original Tweet wasn’t exactly groundbreaking insight, but it was reasonable, correct, and prudent. I’m absolutely not a Trump fan, and I read it like, “yeah… he’s not wrong.” Only when I got to the comment section and saw guys like JASON up above proselytizing, did I think, “oh for f#$&’s sake…”

  21. the pandemic will pass. the recession will bottom out. people will fly again. very few will remember or care about the “max”fiasco. the program will ultimately be a success.

  22. I’d be interested in knowing how many people have changed their minds on this plane.

    Some will always hate it
    Some will always love it

    But how many will change their minds

    I’m thinking I’ll let it fly for a few years first, then get on one if there are no accidents.

    But my fear of the plane is somewhat less than 6 months ago

    The recession gave Boeing some time to work on this, instead of delivering new planes to airlines that can’t buy a plane now anyway

  23. @ AdamW

    I was referring to 1992

    Now let’s see. If we add 39 + 19 we get what? That’s OK, I’ll wait. You can find the actual votes cast with a little research.

    The fact that there were three runners is immaterial. Clinton won with less than the total votes cast. Now, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?

  24. @AdamW

    I love how you end your statement with “you people.” Talk about egotism and self-righteousness; seems downright absurd that you are lecturing others on “class.”

  25. @ Christian

    The easiest way to determine if a 737 is a MAX aircraft is to look at the winglets. The MAX have winglets going both up and down. The NG has winglets only going up. Older 37’s don’t have winglets, that I’m aware of.

  26. @Scott Alaska refitted much of their fleet with the more efficient double winglets and they don’t own any Max aircraft.

    The Max series flew commercially without any incident from May 22, 2017. It took a special set of circumstances coupled with less than competent pilots to manage to crash the two flights in 2019, sadly.

    They never should have crashed but Boeing relied on pilots being competent and thus overestimated minimum ability. The revised MCS control and display software should ensure that the problem never re-appears. New checklists will include the attitude sensors as well and I hope include double redundancy.

    I am trying to find flights to somewhere for the winter and many are scheduled on the 737-8. I have no problem believing that these flights will be as safe, or safer, than flights on other airlines flying Airbus (which have their own history that was never fully acknowledged). So my trips could or will include the M8.

  27. @Scott The MAX style split tip winglets are available as a 3rd party retrofit for 737NG’s so you can’t rely on that to differentiate the two.

    The biggest difference is the engine. The LEAP engine on the MAX is much bigger than the CFM56 on the NG, with very distinctive chevrons on the engine nacelle, like those on 787. Those bigger and heavier LEAP engines were the reason Boeing added MCAS to begin with, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  28. That’s not enough. I don’t want to see the 3 in 737 at all. Change it to something else. Heck just start with 7A7. Ya. I know the 7E7 was the 787 developmental name. But get rid of 737 brand period.

  29. @ everyone

    From the factory, only the MAX has split winglets. Yes, there is a 3rd party manufacturer where an airline can get splits for the NG. However, the overall look of this is quite different from the factory look. It looks much more “bolted” on.

  30. @Azamaraal
    Pretty disingenuous to blame the pilots when US pilots had already encountered the issue before the crashes. The difference was that, according to ASRS NASA reports, US pilots had encountered the issue at altitude and thus had plenty of time and space to correct it when it occurred. Both Ethiopian and Lion Air encountered it during climb immediately after takeoff, with the pilots having a higher workload at that period of flight and far less time and altitude to diagnose and resolve any problems. And you curiously don’t mention Boeing’s failure in having this functionality tied in to only a single physical sensor, whose type has had multiple failures across multiple aircraft manufacturers and types over the past couple decades that resulted in sudden altitude loss incidents.

  31. @Airfarer
    Too bad that politics has to sully even this topic – but this needs facts nevertheless.
    I am always amazed how the tRumpers (The Enablers) distort and divide at every opportunity.
    What you are saying is complete humbug, only intention is to cover up for your Führer, muddy the waters, divide, all whilst knowing fully well what you are doing ( if it was ignorance, you could be forgiven….)
    Bill Clinton got by far the most electoral AND popular votes, in both elections.
    Quite as opposed to your beloved moron, who fell far short of getting the most popular votes.
    Wikipedia:
    “Due in part to Perot’s fairly strong third party performance, Clinton did not win a majority of the popular vote, but his popular margin of 8.5 percentage points remains largest popular vote margin won by either party since the 1984 presidential election.”
    If you want to suck up to tRump, elsewhere, please!

  32. @ Azamaraal
    Oh no – now it’s Airbus vs Boeing….
    Even though that was not even remotely the discussion here.
    Please be at least specific when you must “distract, divide, distort, sow doubt”.
    Who else is really good at this….????

  33. The 737 Max is a fundamentally flawed aircraft design. There is absolutely no way to make it “un-flawed”. If it were not a flawed design it would not have needed the “MCAS” system (as earlier 737 variants needed no such system). The “MCAS” system was an attempt to make a fundamentally flawed design “workable”.

    I, too, hope that this “rebranding” does not extend to making the abbreviation for the aircraft type on airline schedules the same as, say, the 737-800 (currently shown as B738) making it impossible for passengers to know when scheduling the type of aircraft they are booking a flight on. I have no intention of flying on a 737 MAX EVER. If there is no way to discern a 737 MAX from other 737’s, then I won’t fly on ANY 737.

  34. @Mike O – the A380 would have been the A350 if they hadn’t broken the numbering sequence, since the A350 project didn’t launch until 2004 and the A380 received its final name (it was originally referred to as the “A3XX”) in 2000.

    Both Boeing and Airbus have done a lot of screwing around with numbering traditions to get as many “8”s into designations as possible. More than once I’ve pictured Chinese officials laughing their heads off at the idea that they’d base billion-dollar decisions on this.

  35. @Dusty

    Flight records and various web site indicate that the correction for “runaway stabilizer” was the correction that experienced pilots of 737 aircraft used when encountering the problem. Exactly the same procedure was used on the Lion Air flight previous to the crash because an experienced pilot helped the aircrew when the problem was encountered before the fatal crash. The problem with the attitude indicator was not fixed and unfortunately Lion Air crashed because the experienced pilot was not onboard on the next flight. The choice of single redundancy attitude indicators was Lion Air’s to save a few dollars, but certainly Boeing should have insisted on the double redundancy.

    Two or more years of heavy usage and no crashed with airlines like Air Canada, Westjet, Southwest and all the rest indicate that it took a “special” set of circumstances to create a disaster.

    Looking back over the years there have been problems with aircraft design. The most obvious include the Comet and the DC 10. Once the Comet’s problems were identified and corrected the plane few as the NIMROD until 2011 as part of the RAF or commercially as the Comet in 1997. The fatal crashes of the DC-10 were followed by many years of successful flight. The last DC-10 Cargo ended its career in Jan 2019 (Fedex) at age 47. The passenger version was renamed the MD-11 and its last flight for KLM was Oct 2014.

    So Boeing has fixed the 7M8 so that even your grandmother can fly it. It will survive as long as it provides the most efficient option for short single aisle flights and hopefully as long as they fix the bloody bathroom disaster.

    @HP

    When the A320 series was introduced their fly-by-wire had serious software problems. If you were living in the western world you were probably not aware of them. Airbus crashed a significant number of A320 planes in India which was reported where we lived overseas. “Findings” were “pilot error” as the crashes occurred in India and were covered up.

    The current A320/A321(?) Neo has a weight/balance/COG problem that has restricted the seating of passengers in certain circumstances. Details are scarce so the problem is either phantom or being withheld from the general public.

    Air France AF447 A330 certainly had a pitot problem that caused approximately ass many deaths as the 7M8.

    So it is not a Boeing vs Airbus deflection. If you are going to claim that the B737 Max is a doomed design you are certainly biased in a particular direction and the Blinders are big and obvious.

    It will survive. It will be safe. It will be successful in spite of some Boeing haters.

  36. @Joe

    I think that almost every modern airliner can be called a “flying brick” if it wasn’t for sophisticated electronic digital control systems that make all the bits and pieces fit together.

    The MCAS was designed to prevent the 737 from stalling if the pilots were not doing their job properly. Ironic, isn’t it? And to save a few bucks Lion Air decided to only have one flight attitude measuring vane installed and then the maintenance crews were unable to properly repair it when it malfunctioned in the previous flight. The experienced pilot deadheading saved the day the first time by telling the crew about the “runaway stabilizer” fix. The snag was not properly addressed and the failure recurred sadly with disastrous results.

    So your statement that the 737-8 is a fundamentally flawed design is unfortunately not substantiated by facts. Just like the DC-10 and the Comet and many others the problem once identified will be fixed and the airplane will have a happy life for the next 30 years.

    But you’ve already read this many times and don’t want to believe it. That certainly is your choice not to fly in a 737, and I have reasons why I would not want to fly in a 737 in cattle as well, but between us I predict we will both eventually fly the Max and will arrive safely (provided that the carrier does the retrofit of the new software and modifications properly of course).

  37. The re-positioning of the engines and pylons of the 737 Max are what made the 737 max a fundamentally flawed design and thus created the need for MCAS. No airplane would have been designed that way and no others have an MCAS system. In this case, Boeing wanted to “shoehorn” an engine onto an airframe never designed for it. I will not be surprised, at all, if there are future mishaps with the 737 MAX having nothing to do with MCAS but related to the fundamental design flaws. MCAS is a system which is in use in order to prevent a catastrophic problem related to the fundamental design flaws of the aircraft. However, there are other potential problems related to the fundamental design flaw for which MCAS will not be able to correct.

  38. @Joe

    Final thoughts.

    ALL MODERN AIRCRAFT have computer flight control systems that help the pilot deal with aircraft design quirks. The A320 Neo is a classic example. It is unstable and needs the flight control system to keep it in the air. Invisible to the pilots as it is fly by wire. Guess we should ground all of them at the same time as the 737-8?

    I just checked and Airbus has a problem with both the A320neo and the A321neo ELAC system. This problem seems to occur on landing with specific centre of gravity configurations etc. Because of this some airlines are flying with less than full airplanes to keep the COG within the specified limits to prevent an angle of attack problem.

    So Airbus is safe because their “MCAS” is called “ELAC”?

    Because both the A320 and 321 neo’s have a rear centre of gravity design both seem to have a problem. Would you call a rear COG a design flaw? I would. Is it enough to ground the aircraft forever? Depends on the fix. This particular problem appears on landing and could be triggered by a go-around if I read correctly. Might not be the safest design in the world?

    I digress. The Max has a possible problem of pitch up on takeoff due to the large engines creating lift (if I read the report correctly) which is easily corrected by a pilot or automatically by a computer with correct inputs from the angle of attack sensors. Airbus has a similar problem caused by a rear centre of gravity and possible angle of attack sensors which can be corrected by a computer or by pilot input.

    I wouldn’t call for the grounding of either aircraft once the FAA certification has cleared the planes for safe operation.

  39. @Azamaraal
    You’re still missing an important contributing factor. All previous known incidences of MCAS giving erroneous nose down trim occurred during cruise at high altitude, not within 120 seconds of takeoff.

    You’re also incorrect in blaming Lion Air for only having one AOA indicator. The crash would still have happened if they bought the second one, since Boeing never bothered to tie the system to a second indicator if one was present, as exemplified in the Ethiopian crash. That jet was equipped with two AOA indicators, but the second one was not tied into the system and no AOA indicator disagree message was given despite the two indicators deviating by 59* before the crash. That’s entirely on Boeing, without even considering the foolishness of implementing a system that has control over flight surfaces but relies on only a single sensor.

    You’re also completely omitting the jammed trim issue that results from this. The 737 still uses a physical trim wheel, which can be operated with electric motors. However, cutting out MCAS requires cutting the electric motors, which makes it very difficult to correct a severe nose-down trim while maintaining a nose up attitude with the yokes. There’s a procedure to correct this, but it hasn’t been in the manual or part of 737 pilot training since the 737-200. This also explains why despite the Ethiopian pilots initially initially following the runaway trim procedure, they felt it necessary to turn the trim motors back on. They could not correct the trim by hand while simultaneously keeping the nose up.

    Yes, it took a “special” set of circumstances for this to occur. That “special” set of circumstances was having this occur immediately after takeoff rather than at cruise, and we are extremely lucky it didn’t occur in the US before it occurred overseas. While Lion and Ethiopian having low hour pilots in the cockpit did contribute to the crash, the root cause goes squarely back to Boeing implementing a flight control system that relies on only a single sensor’s input (even if more than one sensor is physically present on the aircraft).

  40. The main problem was that Boeing tried to adapt the 737airframe to a size/performance niche that was previously held by the 757. If you have flown a 757, you know that there is no substitute for it except another 757. The smaller 787 overlapped the seating capacity of the 757-300, and so to pay for the outlandish cost over-runs of the 787, Boeing cancelled the 757 line (not withstanding that NUMEROUS airlines wanted the 757 line to continue) to force airlines to buy the 787. Most didn’t. The 787 isn’t nearly as versatile as a 757 – you could never take one out of MDW fully loaded and take it to either coast or do a oceanic crossing with the SAME airplane. To fill the niche the 757 left, Boeing tried to remake the 737 into a cheaper version of the 757. Didn’t work so well…

    Now Boeing is working on a clean-sheet airplane known as the NMA – New Market Aircraft. Hopefully, it will be as versatile as the original 757 and be as successful. The 737 airframe is tapped out.

  41. @Glenn

    You must be privy to some information that I do not have.

    NMA is no longer in design – they have put that puppy on the back burner as far as I have heard.

    737 may be certified soon and when it is back in service then perhaps the NMA will become viable. Maybe in 10 years.

    Not an aircraft designer but they might have been better to re-wing and re-engine the 757 like they did to the 747. Perhaps they chose the wrong product to focus on.

    I hate single aisle long distance flights so have always abhorred the 757.

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