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…
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?