IAG’s Massive, Eyebrow-Raising, 737 MAX Order

Filed Under: British Airways, Iberia

The Paris Air Show is going on right now, which has led to quite a few aircraft orders. However, this year it’s Airbus with the edge over Boeing — Airbus unveiled the A321XLR, while Boeing hasn’t done a whole lot of anything, given their 737 MAX challenges. I’d argue it would be in bad form for them to even be showcasing new things, rather than fixing their 737 MAX situation.

Earlier I wrote about how IAG placed an order for 14 Airbus A321XLRs, which they plan to use for Aer Lingus and Iberia. Rather oddly, that’s the less interesting of two IAG orders that were announced today.

IAG signs letter of intent for 200 Boeing 737 MAXs

IAG has signed a letter of intent to acquire 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets, in a deal valued at $24 billion at list prices. You read that right. IAG placed a massive order for a plane that has been grounded for months, with no end in sight.

I’d note that this is only a letter of intent as of now, and details are still limited:

  • IAG intends to get a combination of Boeing 737 MAX 8s (which can seat up to 178) and 737 MAX 10s (which can seat up to 230), though hasn’t revealed how the numbers will be split between the two types of planes
  • IAG hasn’t revealed how the planes would be split between British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and LEVEL

This is also an interesting move because up until now IAG has almost exclusively used Airbus planes for their narrow body fleets.

IAG’s CEO, Willie Walsh, had the following to say:

“We’re very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG’s short-haul fleet. We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO, Kevin McAllister, had the following to say:

“We are truly honored and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else. We are delighted that the IAG team recognized the superior qualities of the 737 MAX and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family. We look forward to building on our long-standing partnership with IAG for many years to come.”

It’s interesting to note that IAG’s press release about this doesn’t use the word “MAX” at all. It only refers to the plane as the 737. In the meantime Ryanair has done something similar — they’ve rebranded the 737 MAX 200 as the 737-8200.

Why this leaves a bad taste in my mouth

Maybe I’m off base here, but there’s something I find sleazy about this:

  • As of now this is just a letter of intent, so IAG isn’t actually “putting their money where their mouth is”
  • I’m sure they’re going to get an amazing deal from Boeing if they follow through with this order, both because Boeing will be desperate for business for this plane, and also because they value IAG’s statement of confidence

I can’t help but feel like on some level this trivializes the death of 300+ people who died due to Boeing’s negligence to essentially sign this letter of intent while the plane is still grounded.

IAG is essentially trading positive press for Boeing for a good deal on the plane. If that weren’t the case, I imagine they would have expressed interest in the plane long before the 737 MAX was grounded, or they’d wait until the 737 MAX is flying once again, and confidence in the plane isn’t as low as it is.

So yeah, I could be off base, but in some way this feels like trying to profit off of tragedy. I feel like it would be in much better taste to sign an LOI after the plane is flying again, and aviation authorities across the world have certified and endorsed the safety features of the aircraft.

Maybe I’m too focused on the optics here, though. I do believe the 737 MAX will fly again, and I also believe it will be a safe plane once aviation authorities around the world endorse it. But in the meantime…

Bottom line

There’s no doubt this is a huge win for Boeing. Even if IAG doesn’t actually follow through on this order (which is a very real possibility), this is the most confidence that any airline has shown in the 737 MAX, aside from those airlines operating it (who have a vested interest in the plane).

That doesn’t change the fact that I find this all to be a bit uncomfortable, but maybe that’s just me.

What do you guys think — “yay” to Boeing for securing an order and to IAG for showing their confidence in the plane, or “yuck” for the timing of all of this?

  1. This seems like they’re going to head deeper into the LCC market. I remember LCCs signed off on buying tons of planes, right after 9/11 for the huge discount. This is the same. Remember, LEVEL exists?

  2. Typical Willie Walsh TRASH. It'[s a win-win situation for them. Either the plane is cleared and they got a super deal (and good delivery positions which will be a-plenty due to cancellations), or the plane dies a slow death and so does the order. This is a guy who likely steals flowers at funerals to put them on his family’s tombs (unless he resells them)

  3. Yuck indeed. It reeks of corporations in bed, sticking it to the public.

    Interesting strategy if it all goes ahead. I would have thought the costs of getting crew trained for a new type would have been prohibitive. But alas, this isn’t the only dominating factor, as you rightly point out Lucky, the capital cost savings are likely to be substantial.

    The duopoly depends on healthy competition, but this feels seedy.

  4. Hopefully they don’t order them, the 737 generally is a nasty plane especially in economy with its narrower fuselage than the A320, let alone in the “MAX” configuration with its ultra cramped and crowded “stack em high” layout.

  5. Surprised to see they are ordering the MAX 8 rather than the MAX 200 that RyanAir ordered. Maybe it’s not for LCC use? I can easily see them using a bunch for Level and having Level transfer their A320/321s over to Vueling. But 200 of them? Maybe they have plans to really expand Level.

  6. I bought lifemiles to make a flight from argentina(eze) to wien (vie) with ethiopian.
    Everything was perfect until today… my departure date!
    The flight is cancelled and lifemiles says it is ethiopian problem…and ethipopian says that is lifemiles proble because i bought it with miles.

    What can i do? I am desesperate. Never again lifemiles!!

  7. I think you’re way off base here characterizing this action as “trivializing the death of 300+ people.” That’s like saying flying Eurowings trivializes the death of those who perished at the hands of a suicidal pilot that Lufthansa let fly, or that flying Malaysia trivializes the lives lost on MH370. Behind every big civil aviation disaster lies a lot of mistakes made usually by a lot of people, none intentionally. Rudder design flaws brought down at least two 737s back in the 90’s and future purchases of the plane and flights do not lessen the loss of those who perished.

  8. Business is business, no such thing as sour taste. It’s either good or bad.

    With $0 orders in the first day, Boeing probably was in worse shape than hooker needing drugs.

    IAG probably got free bj (Boeing Jets, :p) or paid very little for it.
    Happy ending for IAG, and Boeing got the dough it desperately need.

  9. What on earth do you expect Boeing to do? Roll over and play dead?

    This is fine. You are either overreacting or clickbaiting.

  10. Ben, sorry I do think you are a bit off base here. At what point is it acceptable for an airline to order 737s again if not now, at the world’s largest airshow? Should Boeing agree never to take further orders for the type to memorialise the victims of the two tragedies? And Should IAG take no discount off the list price in order to not to ‘trivialise’ the two accidents? It seems unfair (and a little offensive) to me to judge this transaction like that.

    Also, just two weeks after the Ethiopian crash Lufthansa group placed a large order for 787s (also a type they don’t currently fly), no doubt receiving similarly huge discounts in return for the good publicity of an order with stricken Boeing. I don’t recall any comments about how distasteful that was?

    Boeing is in a difficult period and is offering steep discounts – as everyone knew they would need to do at some stage – in order to restart sales of an aircraft type that should be one of the safest planes ever built when it returns to service. Nothing will change what happened but I think we need to be realistic about how Boeing, as well as the major airlines, move forward. if they intend to keep building aircraft they need to sell them, and the airline business is highly competitive, not a market where an airline group can afford to turn down discounts.

    On another note, VERY interesting order, and I wonder which division these planes will go to. BA already has a large fleet replacement program involving A320/1 Neos so i suspect this will indicate a desire to grow Vueling/LEVEL massively. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see another large 737 order soon from Ryanair, which has been hinting strongly they want to order more, at steep discounts as well.

  11. Lucky, you’re not making a ton of sense here; sounds like a bit of a kneejerk reaction on your part? What sort of MAX order would fall under the line of ‘OK, that’s cool’ to you? 199? 99? 0?

  12. Is this Britain’s attempt at courting the Americans for a sweet post-Brexit trade deal? They’d sooner do that than support their own by ordering A320neo planes, whose wings and other components are made in Britain?

  13. Maybe too much knee-jerk, Lucky?
    How many MAX orders would’ve been ‘cool’ with you? 199? 99? 0? Boeing should’ve just not shown up in Paris, even better?

  14. Suggesting this business deal is trivialising people’s deaths is way off base, and a little offensive to everyone involved. I posted a lengthy list of reasons why, but for some reason it has not appeared on here.

    Unless you seriously expect Boeing to stop selling planes, and airlines to stop buying them, then let’s dispense with the false moralising. If you really feel badly about this, you should also include Lufthansa Group in your criticism for ordering a load of 787s only a couple weeks after the Ethiopian Crash, also at a massive discount no doubt, as a stricken Boeing is giving hefty discounts to everyone.

    On another note, IAG in their statement said ‘It is anticipated that the aircraft would be used by a number of the Group’s airlines including Vueling, LEVEL plus British Airways at London Gatwick airport’, so it’s very interesting that BA may become a 737 operator again after so many years, at least on their leisure routes out of Gatwick.

  15. I’m wondering why IAG would move back to Boeing for their short haul fleet! Is it simply because they think they can get a bumper deal? Or are they trying to get a better counteroffer from Airbus… if nothing else, even if they don’t buy the Max, they gave Boeing a much needed boost. As an airline group that owns a lot of its fleet, I can’t see the likes of BA getting rid of their A320 series aircraft anytime soon. Vueling is receiving plenty of new deliveries… so could this be a Level expansion? And where does that leave Vueling?

  16. I think it;s more like courting Boeing, so that they can get a much better deal with Airbus… just watch…

  17. It’s highly likely that, once returned to service, the 737 Max will be the safest plane in the air.

    Suggesting that future sales of a plane that crashed is somehow “disrespectful” is a novel and quite silly observation that somehow never occurred to anyone in prior crashes.

  18. Why do we expect too much from aviation in terms of safety? It seems odd that a flight on the 737 max is still safer than the actual drive to the airport- even after two crashes.

  19. I think it’s fair to say that given the position Boeing is in, the order is surprising – whether that is in good/bad taste is dependent on people’s values. For me, it’s just bad taste.

    Boeing should not of course roll over and play dead … but they should have ‘owned’ the issue a lot earlier. I feel they handled it a bit like BP handled the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It is not just about PR, it is about reassurance that the managers at Boeing will never put the brilliant engineers in a position like that again.

    Likewise, the same holds true for Airbus – it learnt hard lessons from A380 wiring and other fiascos.

    Commercial aviation is unlike any transport system, it allows commodification, at the same time it is literally the science of ensuring people travel safely in a pressurised tube at subsonic speeds over great distances. As much as the travelling public doesn’t seem to care about how they get to a destination, there will be increasing pressure, especially as everyone is so digitally connected. Perception takes a whole new meaning and form. Companies must move away from just stating that they have values, to showing that they do.

    Back to the order – It would be interesting to see how IAG structures the distribution of these alongside the Airbus models.

  20. YUCK! Doesn’t smell right to me either. Definitely games being played.

    Boeing made a disgusting reaction to identical crashes that were clearly related to the aircraft…. good weather, well trained pilots, easy phase of flight. I am an ex Boeing type captain, so speak with some knowledge.

  21. This is not sleazy, this is business. They got a great deal and the plane issues will be taken care of well before these even go into manufacturing.

  22. Not a huge IAG fan, but this take is maybe a bit harsh. Isn’t one of the main points of the PAS to do business? If it’s bad optics for them to do business at the primary industry event of the year, maybe they shouldn’t have attended at all?

    Surely there have been cases in the past where deals were made a few months after a crash of the same aircraft type?

  23. The money part makes sense. But I’m a passenger. Being a civilian (and not owning an airline), I could care less about the money aspect. This is a “yuck” for me.

  24. It’s quite ignorant to proclaim that “this will be the safest plane in the air when it returns”. It’s still a 50+ year old design using software to compensate for engine size/location issues.

  25. I’m not sure why people feel the need to defend Boeing. It’s fine for Boeing to try to sell their temporarily broken plane, given their intent to fix all safety issues. The morally irresponsible party here is 100% IAG, who are taking advantage of a tragedy to get a big discount on a plane they don’t know will ever be safe.

  26. Agree with @Kerry. It’s horrible that people died — obviously everyone can agree on that — but clearly the air travel system is set up for manufacturers to learn from tragic mistakes. Progressive improvement is why crashes are such a newsworthy event today — whereas just a few decades ago, with many fewer people flying, there were often several major crashes each year.

    Even after great loss, life has to move on — and rebuilding public confidence in what is likely still a very safe plane is part of that process. I don’t think it’s fair to say they have to wait until the plane is not grounded — support from BA is part of the political cover that will let regulators approve the plane to re-enter service.

    Saying it’s disrespectful to passengers who died is just an example of our online outrage culture run amok.

  27. Failing to mention it’s a MAX in the IAG press release is all I need to know. Did IAG use the victims blood to sign the LOI.

  28. 1) 737max will never be the safest plane in the sky. Old as crap, unbalanced, and modified with software to support an engine that shouldn’t be compatible with that plane model.

    2) Of course it’s too early. It’s at least what 4-5 months before it’s cleared and there is no doubt the timing is suspect.

    3) Easiest way to show no impropriety is to show the sale price

  29. @StevenK
    Well spotted. The IAG press release doesn’t use the word MAX at all so clearly they are not that proud of their new order!

  30. How many Airbus A330’s were ordered after the Air France 447 crash?

    With regard to the LOI, it make perfect sense for a large customer to diversify their fleet to get best prices from the manufacturers.

  31. I think trivializing is a bit too much. But the way they announced was in bad taste. They could have done the letter of intent more discreetly, considering that its not an actual sale.

  32. So, according to Lucky, the mourning period is not over yet, so Boeing shouldn’t be out dating yet?

  33. I’m guessing they don’t have any intention of receiving the planes since they’ll have to spend money on retraining pilots, cabin crew, maintenence etc

    It’s most likely they just want a discount on the 777X or some more 787’s and this was likely a way for them to get a large one.

  34. Question – I’m looking to book a flight to Europe this winter and an option that keeps popping up is on Air Canada flying the 737 Max. Safe to book at this point or should I avoid this?

  35. I have very low ethical expectations of IAG, but this is surprisingly tasteless even for them.

  36. When was the best time to buy Titanic souvenirs? When the ship was sinking.

    This is no different. Boeing’s in a bad position and IAG sees it as an opportunity. It’s called business and has nothing to do with the 300 dead people. Is it tasteless? I don’t know that it is. At the very least, if I were IAG or Boeing, I would have sat on the announcement until the 737Mistake is flying again and has a good 3-6 months under its belt without a screwup and people start to forget about the two accidents.

    This has happened in the past as well. Take a look at the dodgy history of the DC-10. If anything, the parallels between the early DC-10 issues and 737Mistake issues are eerily similar. Both involve aircraft manufacturers self-certifying parts and the FAA looking the other way. Both also involve an aircraft which is a technology dinosaur (DC-10/737Mistake) vs. the competition (L1011/A321).

    I’ll also point out that there were more DC-10s bought AFTER the problems with the cargo door than before. The reason air travel is so safe today is due to the 60,000+ people who have died in air crashes. Fortunately, somewhere along the lines we started extensively documenting and studying these disasters and learned from them. I have no doubt that more people will die in 737Mistake aircraft after they return to the skies. Same for A321a, A220s, etc.

    It also helps to put some perspective on this. 542 people were murdered in Chicago last year, 101 people per DAY die in car accidents in the USA, and about 200 people per day in the US end up in the ER due to falling in the shower. Even with the 737Mistake’s bad design, it’s still safer than many common places.

  37. Huge MASSIVE YAY

    if Angola’s best fly had said it was ordering some 737’s instead of ATRs would anyone here be saying that was in bad taste

    At the end of the day this is a business and yes occasionally tragic events happen but it’s still business and it’s the biggest air show of the year

  38. @SFO Flyer: I do believe the 737Mistake will be back in the air by winter. As to if it’s safe? Good question. At our office, we’re going to give the 737Mistake 6 months of flights before we’re willing to trust it. Is it safe? Certainly safer than driving to the airport, even in its original flawed state. I’ve certainly flown on much less safe aircraft over the years.

    BUT, our thought is why chance it when there are safer aircraft available? MCAS isn’t the only flaw with the 737Mistake. There are fire/heat issues which are ‘allowed’ since it’s the same aircraft type as previous 737s, BUT would never be allowed on a brand new design.

    It’s the difference between renting a Nissan Versa vs. Mercedes C-Class at the car rental counter. Sure, they’re both 2019 model cars, both meet federal safety standards. One uses simple, ‘proven’, old-school technology and the other uses the latest & greatest. Both will get you from Point A to Point B, but I know the latter is the one I’d rather be inside of for an accident.

  39. This article is misleading. It is a LOI (level of intent), NOT an order. Why are you misleading your readers by claiming it is an order when clearly it is not.

  40. Boeing have definitely given IAG a ridiculously good deal on these planes. It literally only makes sense on the upfront cost as the cost to retrain all of IAG’s army of staff to work on these planes will be astronomical as I believe the last time there was a 737 in the IAG fleet was BA and they were retired a few years ago. What I see IAG doing here is that they are trying to force Airbus’s hand here. As it’s just an LOI at this point I would not be surprised to here that they have switched their order to the a320neo as Airbus swoops in to try and save one of their crowning jewels by offering an unbelievable deal.

    Politically this makes no sense either putting the MAX issues to one side for now. Airbus has been politically linked with both the UK and Spain since its inception. So this seems a bit like IAG either stabbing them in the back or trying to provoke Airbus into giving them a better deal.

  41. Amazing the number of aeronautical engineers on these boards who just “know” the MAX is unsafe and consists of a combination of elements, ie “It’s still a 50+ year old design using software to compensate for engine size/location issues.”

    Rather stunning that board posters know better than the engineers, flight test crews, regulators, et al. Somehow the age arguments always omits that the competitor, the a32x program, was launched in the late 70’s. Clearly a spring chicken by comparison, not to mention one with its own glaring example of overriding pilot input (one in stark contrast never admitted by the manufacturer)…

    An announcement of an order at (gasp!) the Paris Airshow? Oh the horror… bring on the virtue signalling.

  42. This order of 200 737 MAx is indeed very surprising but Boeing must have given IAG a gigantic discount + the promise to replace this aircraft for free with another Boeing Aircraft if the Aviation agencies reject its certification.
    I truly don’t understand otherwise why IAG would order this aircraft and also so many of them.

  43. Letter of intent is NOT an order as you say yourself in the article.

    So why use the word ‘order’ in the headline when you recognise yourself that this isn’t an actual order???

  44. It is crucial to aviation safety that Boeing not be permitted to “fix” the 737 MAX with software. The plane was made unstable due to new, larger and heavier engines which were stupidly located upward and further forward for ground clearance. This causes the 737 MAX to often pitch up at max thrust on take-off. Basic aerodynamic stability was compromised. MCAS is compounding the error: for an airplane that lacks essential stability, software only “papers over” the underlying problem, and Boeing management knows this.
    But they decided to allow a flawed fifty year old design decision to continue rather than implement a costly re-design. The “reasoning” in the 1960’s was that smaller airports would not have lifts to permit ground crew to access the baggage hold, so they purposely made the landing gear short, giving the engines only 17 inches ground clearance. Thus, 346 people have so far been killed by what amounts to negligent homicide in two incidents. New software will not cure this problem. Every in-the-loop manager at Boeing is criminally liable, from the CEO on down. Of course this will not happen, as Boeing has become too big to fail.

  45. Letter of intent is just that, it is not a firm order. As you know nobody wants to touch 737max with a 10 foot pole at this moment. The airline CEOs that says they don’t have problem fly in it because they are stuck with the planes. Airbus knows it, I just think this is IAG tatics to make Airbus sweat a little before they begin the real negotiation.

  46. Oh Lucky…… You’re standards are dropping SO low these days. Please just stick to flight reviews and tips, and quit all this emotional clickbait crap!

  47. @Lucky — “I can’t help but feel like on some level this trivializes the death of 300+ people who died due to Boeing’s negligence to essentially sign this letter of intent while the plane is still grounded.”

    You *do* realize that, once the MAX is re-certified to fly again, it *will* be one of the *safest* in the air, since it went through such extra thorough scrutiny by worldwide certification agencies, right? Fortunately there hasn’t been any crashes of other front-line airliners, but when a different one that’s flown “safely” for a period of time (eg, an Airbus airliner) does crash, then all bets are off about its “safety,” as well, right? One can’t predict what one does *not* know in advance! In other words, just because an airliner has flown “safely” for a decade does *not,* therefore, mean that it does *not* have some “hidden” flaws that just haven’t manifested as yet!
    @Eugene Zawadzki — “It is crucial to aviation safety that Boeing not be permitted to “fix” the 737 MAX with software.”

    Modern aircraft that use fly-by-wire must necessarily involve software in order to effect their aerodynamic flight laws! As for the inherent “instability” of the aircraft absent its fly-by-wire controls, that is an *intentional* design decision in order to attain various aircraft performance parameters, and does *not* mean that the aircraft is, therefore, unsafe by default — as long as a *properly* designed underlying hardware system is able to be *properly* controlled by additional system management software, then the end product *can* be fully *safe* to fly indefinitely! Of course, a system failure of integral components can put the entire system at risk, but that should also have been taken into account during initial system design and development!

    Let’s look at what Airbus does for its airliners with respect to its fly-by-wire controls (from a Wikipedia article about “Flight Control Modes”) —

    “The flight mode of normal law provides five types of protection: pitch attitude, load factor limitations, high speed, high-AOA and bank angle.”

    Notice that software is used to manage pitch attitude as well as high-AOA and bank angle, among many other functions! Airbus pilots have complained in the past that then-implemented flight laws were artificially hampering their manual abilities to handle certain situations had Airbus flight law software not been so restrictive. This tells us that such software does have a material (hopefully helpful) impact upon Airbus aircraft performance and safety!

    With respect to the MAX MCAS situation, its MCAS system and control software were badly architected (IMHO), but it looks like the fixes that are now undergoing certification should remedy its past shortcomings. I do fault Boeing for *not* concurrently utilizing inputs from *both* sets of AOA sensors when those were concurrently available (Boeing originally alternated single use of the AOA sensors on subsequent flights). It would have been preferrable to have *three* operational sensors, but, for whatever reason, Boeing chose to use two, with the option for a manual over-ride in case of failures.

    The stated manual recovery process for AOA sensor failures into MCAS was to treat it as a runaway stabilizer situation, which all pilots should have been properly trained to instinctively handle (as many existing 737 pilots have pointed out)! However, Boeing should have more overtly emphasized this recovery procedure in its documentation and training materials. Not to point blame anywhere, but it’s interesting that the world’s two largest operators of the MAX (USA and China) fortunately did not have any crashes during the times that they had been flying them!

    So … it’s not as if there weren’t ways to dis-engage MCAS upon AOA sensor failures and recover handling control using manual methods — the major issue appears to be Boeing’s lack of sufficient transparency about the MCAS system and its behaviors! These operational issues, of course, are being remedied (including desirable system architectural enhancements) with the latest efforts to RE-certify the flightworthiness of the MAX and should, thereby, make the MAX one of the safest aircraft to fly, after having gone through such thorough auditing of this key feature!

    In one respect, it is *very* fortunate that such fixes can be implemented through software updates rather than having to off-line hundreds of operational MAX aircraft for intensive hardware retrofits that could take much longer to complete!

  48. The fact that Boeing tried to steal the show with this LoI at PAS which takes place at Airbus’ home country just goes to show how low they are willing to go to do business.


    And shame on IAG for capitalising on this opportunity – they could have very much waited until after the show to sign the LoI so that Airbus gets the spotlight for this year’s PAS, but no.

  49. Nothing but a Walmart fire sale — me thinks that IAG is attempting to leverage a price point with both Boeing / and Airbus to see who is going to cave first . This is what the letter of intent is all about . Smells stinky but business is ; as they say , business .

  50. Two things here

    1. We don’t know that the airplane will ever be certified IN EVERY AREA IN WHICH IAG operate

    2. We don’t know that Boeing will survive. It’s not just the 737 Max – there are also problems with the 787.

  51. @If it is a Boeing I ain’t going right, so Airbus doing a hard-sell after the 7M8 crashes is what, fair game? there are a lot of really stupid people commenting on here, and you sir/ma’am are far in front of that line

  52. Yuck. This feels gross – disappointing from IAG regardless of whether LOI or firm orders. I won’t be flying MAX on any airline. I’ll likely still fly IAG carriers longhaul but overall it’s making me less inclined to choose them.

  53. IAG takes advantage of Boeing and potentially loss of life to make more money. Surprise! Boeing’s greed puts profits ahead of safety. Surprise! That’s the side of capitalism the brainwashed “regulation is bad, market is good” crowd ignores.

  54. @If it is a Boeing I ain’t going : which part of TLS do you live in?
    Suggest you read the accident report for AF 447 which oh by the way, was a perfect Airbus and killed almost as many people as the 2 7M8 crashes. Do educate yourself before commenting.
    @Lucky do go back and review the crash history of the 320 which hasnt done badly eh?

  55. I can’t believe a major airline group is going to buy a plane which has such a poor design that it isn’t able to fly without a software. The hardware must fly, the software makes it easier to handle it. In this case the 737 MAX is not able to fly without software, a software which is so mighty that it overrides the (obviously poorly trained) pilots. Otherwise it’s not understandable why Boeing has no trust in their own design and the flight capabilities of the pilots. Or is it just that the 737 MAX is a faulty design, because the new big engines doesn’t fit to a veteran plane?

    On top of that I will never understand how a major airline is going to buy a plane from a company which isn’t able to make their job to integrate the fuel saving engines without jeopardizing the safe flight capabilities. And then, to hide their incompetency, they integrate a mighty software and hide it from the authorities and, even worse, the pilots. That’s a fraud, a criminal act, corruption. But don’t worry, nothing happens, they are best friends to the White House and the Pentagon.
    Safety First, oh sorry I wanted to say Money First, that’s the deal here. A Win Win for two desperate players. A trust announcement for Boeing and a never seen discount for IAG. Safety isn’t necessary if the new plane just makes money. Safety? It’s nice to have, but second priority for Boeing only. So sad….

    BTW, I don’t want to fly in a plane which needs software to fly. Certified or not. A pilot wants to survive, the software doesn’t care. And it’s a nice new game field: Let’s try to hack a plane. You don’t need guns any more, just good hacking skills….
    Maybe we shouldn’t allow any laptops in a plane in future. At least not in the 737 MAX.

  56. Very disappointed IAG have signaled their intent to buy 200 of these planes. I think it’s a very bad PR move on their part. The public don’t trust this plane and don’t trust Boeing right now. This move will likely cause that distrust to rub off on IAG.

  57. As usual, so many people giving their opinions and beliefs based almost entirely on emotion and opinions they read somewhere else! Can’t you find something constructive to do lol?

  58. I agree with you Lucky! The optic is bad and it is an insult towards the families and friends, who lost their loved ones. Till now, the bad news about Boeing 737 MAX can be described as “drip drip drip”. There will be a new NYT or Seattle Times’ report once every few weeks. There have been rumors about the planes coming back in the air soon, but we are already half way through June. Basically I think Boeing has lots of works to do in instilling trust on the Boeing 737 Max again. I think they should focus on getting the MAX back in the air before trying to sell the planes again.

  59. Ha! Most normal punters won’t know what “IAG” is. The idea that the group’s airline brands are now contaminated by the parent company’s association with this dodgy aircraft is, frankly, way off base.

    Is it tacky and sordid? Well, yes – but that’s what business is: just look at American’s dispute with its mechanics, or United v. Dr Dao, or accusations against ME airlines that their foreign staff work in appalling co furious, or Lucky’s own reporting of the way Saudia crews work…

    If business corporations were people they would be classified as sociopathic: only interested in maximising their self-interested behaviours irrespective of the impacts on anyone else. The real surprise is that anyone with their eyes open might be surprised. Or has everyone just believed the softly-focused “brand videos” of Singapore, BA, Oman, etc?

    This is a ruthless negotiating ploy by IAG, and it’s an example of why it’s one of the world’s more profitable airlines (not fake-profitable like US airlines, which only survive today courtesy of massive bankruptcy “

    Anyone who thinks this is a straightforward deal wouldn’t understand why, say, Korean (based in South Korea, just off the China Sea) has just bought a load more US-manufactured planes instead of planes made by Airbus. We are in a weird world of geopolitical and corporate manoeuvring, where very little is as it might at first appear.

  60. Dunno what went wrong there. The corrected phrases:

    – or accusations against ME airlines that their foreign staff work in appalling conditions

    – (not fake-profitable like US airlines, which only survive today courtesy of massive bankruptcy “restructurings”).

  61. Boeing offered earlier slots to IAG thanAirbus could give them. IAG takes over most of Jet Airways’ order and Boeing also guarantees to supply IAG with spare parts for their Airbus fleet.

  62. Donna – Those events aren’t remotely similar… Eurowings couldn’t realistically forsee the pilot would commit suicide. Boeing knew their design was flawed – hence why they designed a system to counteract it. They knew it at least contributed to the first crash but pretended like nothing was wrong. They knew that safety features were optional extras. They knew the MCAS system was flawed (I know virtually nothing about building a plane, but it’s incredibly obvious that you don’t base safety critical features on one single sensor which occasionally fails). They deliberately didn’t inform pilots about it in order to save training costs.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’ll solve the issues, but Boeing is wholly responsible for those crashes and irrefutably did not put safety first – costcutting came first.

  63. No, this is not sleazy. Ever been to an estate sale? People who have just lost a loved one sell things they can’t use (belongings of the deceased) for money, which they can use. Both parties in the transaction benefit. How is this deal with Boeing any different? IAG is selling good publicity, which it can’t use, for money, which it can. Same, same.

    Tragedies happen, but the world must continue turning.

  64. I think anyone reasonable knows that corporations will indeed push ahead with business – Also, I doubt anyone here wants to see Boeing (or Airbus or xxx) fail.

    But what I think what has agitated people on a personal level more than deals, is the way in which a large business deals with the disaster. Further, their treatment of technical staff. Aviation safety didn’t just advance because of technology, it did so also because there was an open safety culture, the willingness for the rest of the team to really and truly listen to concerns raised.

    Safety driven automation, modelling, design studies are all dependent on this simple act to ensure that Aeronautical Development happens within an open environment.

    Anyway, we can argue ethics of this endlessly … I just think Boeing should have (and still can) handle the Max fiasco better (almost every new revelation about what went wrong in the chain has been negative for Boeing – they need to fire their management & PR consultants and start a fresh).

    It will interesting to see how much of this order crystalises into deliveries, and how IAG will source/train staff.

  65. @reiner

    Sorry, but what you are saying is simply false.

    The 7M8 flies perfectly well without MCAS. In the event the aircraft was ALREADY entering a stall condition, there was a tendency to pitch up too much with the thrust increase required to get out of the stall, which to inexperienced pilots could have worsened the situation, and that was what MCAS was designed to correct. That MCAS design proved to be fatally flawed, however which is the origin of the crisis.

    Software cannot make a brick fly people, come on. Also, Software is used to affect flight control in 100pct of current generation passengers jets, from all manufacturers.

  66. So Ben you say “I imagine they would have expressed interest in the plane long before the 737 MAX was grounded” – did you check with IAG when they started talking to Boeing about this?

  67. @ @mkcol — Airlines never officially reveal details of internal discussions they have, so no? But it hadn’t even been rumored at any point, and usually details of discussions do leak.

  68. @The Nice Paul – it’s true most ‘normal punters won’t know what IAG is, but the press know what IAG is and the way they are covering this story isn’t giving BA and the likes good PR at all.

  69. @ Ian M

    I just did a google search for news coverage of this and the top returns – Reuters, Forbes, Fortune, BBC, Guardian – all seem to me to be pretty measured.

    Some point out that IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh is a former 737 pilot

    One points to the shortage of pilots, and argues IAG’s fleet diversification means it can now recruit from both Airbus and Boeing pilots.

    Walsh points out that having a mixed fleet will spur future competition among manufacturers.

    Fascinating times.

  70. Yuck!!!!!

    What a play. It is not the right time to be celebrating a murky image of Boeing 737 Max.
    Why can’t we just wait until the plane is up and flying?
    Right now it is grounded indefinitely.
    Letter of Intention is a joke I feel.

  71. “Honoured and Humbled”…pass the sick bag! Why do Americans have to be so false?

    What he really meant:
    Hell Willy thanks for getting us out of the crap and announcing the letter of intent, here is a mega discount.

    What Willy meant.

    We need to rattle Airbus’s cage so lets sign a worthless bit of paper and see what Airbus do…

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