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What Do You Think About Delta’s (Alleged) Plan to Buy the 737 MAX?

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Rumors surfaced last week that Delta plans to purchase 100 737 MAX jets from Boeing. (Delta would return its 717s to Boeing as part of the purported deal.)

We’ve heard it’s a done deal and already on the books — and Delta is the mystery “unnamed buyer” of 100 MAXes.

But someone else said the rumor is simply that — and nothing more.

This is certainly an interesting development, especially given the fragile state of travel. Especially when not having the 737 MAX seemed a feather in Delta’s cap only a few months ago.

Not Flying the MAX a “Key to Delta’s Success”

During an investor conference call in January, Delta CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged that the airline received a jump in business from passengers fleeing other carriers with 737 MAXes in their fleets.

“We’ve clearly been a beneficiary, and as long as the Max stays out of the sky, I guess, we’ll continue to be one,” he said.

CNN’s Chris Isidore wrote in January that Delta’s MAX-less fleet was “one key to (the airline’s) success.”

More Software Updates?

The 737 MAX seems to require more software updates than Microsoft Office 🙂 .

Only a couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported:

(Boeing) has been dealing with a number of software issues involving the plane that has been grounded since March 2019. Boeing halted production in January.

Boeing said it does not expect the issues to impact its current forecast of a mid-year return to service for the plane. Boeing said the new software issues are not tied to a key anti-software system known as MCAS faulted in both fatal crashes…

Boeing said neither new software issue has been observed in flight. Boeing said in the autopilot issue “flight deck alerts and warnings are already in place to alert the crew if it did.”

Boeing did not say when it expects the updates to be completed.

Reuters reported in February a key certification test flight was not expected until April at the earliest and officials say it might not happen until late May or later.

Last month, Boeing decided to separate 737 MAX wiring bundles that the FAA had flagged by regulators as potentially dangerous before the jet returns to service, Reuters reported.

And Delta wants to order a hundred of these, huh? The deal — if it’s real — must (or hopefully) have a ton of contingencies built in. I assume Delta doesn’t want to be stuck with a hundred planes the FAA won’t certify as airworthy or that pose safety risks.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on this? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!

— Chris

 

Featured image: ©iStock.com/RobertMichaud

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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15 Comments

  1. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen. I don’t even mean from a safety standpoint. Comfort. The 737 sucks. It’s literally the worst.

    • I see a Deal by the time they take delivery of these units it will be years away and possibly a different variant of the Max . This is a workhorse of aviation so it will keep flying for years to come . Right now is the time to get a great deal at way below .the prices booked for the same variant.

  2. I wouldn’t trust CNN as a good source more than I would Chris Elliott.

    Delta is short on cash and they want to return the 717’s because they don’t want to pay the payments on a fleet that is aging and just sitting still. They know the MAX will get sorted out by the end of 2020 and ordering 100 now won’t bring those online for years anyway. So the MAX safety performance issues don’t matter. Besides Boeing will likely change the name by then so the public perception of the safety of the 737 MAX won’t matter much as they will be called 737-15 or 737-XXX.

    The plan is a good one except that Boeing also needs the cash so unless they can afford it as they won’t be inclined to make this deal. Basically it’s a choice for Boeing. Do we continue to get cash payments for old 717’s from Delta now or do we stop the lease, scrap those planes and sell Delta 100 737’s at the a “MAX” discount price to be delivered years from now? The only way I see this deal going through is if Delta can make a fairly large non-refundable deposit for the 737 purchase as a way to buy out of the lease.

  3. I’d refuse to fly in the 737 Max. It’s a constant problem with Boeing with all the software glitches with this plane. It has so many problems, such as the MCAS Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.
    This is interesting to read re the B737-Max and how Boeing had stated then Pilot’s don’t need Simulator Training it’s in the reports below

    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-116hhrg38282/pdf/CHRG-116hhrg38282.pdf
    and
    https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/TI%20Preliminary%20Investigative%20Findings%20Boeing%20737%20MAX%20March%202020.pdf

    My opinion, I don’t trust this aircraft especially after reading the above.

  4. I’ve flown the MAX several times before the ban, GREAT aircraft! Hope the Delta rumors are true!

  5. It’d be a decent bet that there will be no safer aircraft in the skies than the 737 MAX once the necessary work is completed on it. And the current state of the aviation industry (and the government bailout dollars) give Boeing the breathing room to take its time with the work now. And, if Delta is able to do this at a big discount from Boeing as a “flagship reference customer” for the revamped MAX, then lower costs to Delta, hopefully meaning better customer experience for travelers. This is the glass half full scenario here.

  6. Awesome move! Firstly, it makes a lot of business sense. Trade old obsolete aircraft for new more efficient planes at a huge discount. Also support, “Made In America”

    Secondly, you can be rest assured that once the plane is certified to fly again, it will be 100% safe! Delta is a very Safety aware company and would not be reckless in their decision making!

  7. If it is true, there is more to it than a 717 – 737MAX swap. Thee is a big difference in seating capacity, which would impact the routes they served. The pilots union would also want a say in this as a lot of Mad Dog drivers would have to be recertified on the new aircraft.

    I, for one, really like the MD series aircraft (which includes the 717) over the 737. Fewer middle seats is a big plus and it is much quieter, especially the further forward you sit.

  8. The MAX is safe. When operated by North American or European carriers with properly trained pilots This is a very safe plane that I would fly on today. Heck I’d jump on any Boeing jet today. The issues with this plane are not related to its construction. Ask Greg Feith if you don’t believe. While I’ll miss the 2-3 rows I think this is good for Delta.

    • I like the DC-9/MD-80/717, but think this is a smart move for Delta. Guess there will be a lot of contingencies in those contracts, and it might lead to Delta being able to downsize its fleet quickly and “profit” from potential further Max problems. I bet they’ll get a very nice deal on the leasing rates…
      Once the max is flying, I guess it will be the most thoroughly certified plane of recent times. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s safer than others though – probably as safe. I kind of liked the old birds as they are tried and proven…and the 737 indeed is too narrow to be “comfy”, although comfy and coach have nothing in common but the first letter imho 😉

  9. William Sprankel Reply

    It does not have the track record yet and as such, it may or may not be a good deal in the end. Safety and caution on this is the key.

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