Boeing announced on Wednesday that it had won its first order on its troubled 737 MAX aircraft for 2020, with Polish airline Enter Air agreeing to buy up to four jets.
Notably, the announcement released by Boeing appears to mark a shift in how the planemaker publicly brands its jet, perhaps signalling that it intends to drop ‘MAX’ from the name entirely.
In the statement, Boeing referred to the aircraft as the “737-8”, a name used internally within Boeing to mark the MAX, rather than the previous 737 MAX branding it had used in all of its public correspondence to date.
This has stirred speculation that the planemaker might be intending to rebrand its troubled aircraft amid ongoing controversy.
The 737 MAX is still awaiting recertification following its global grounding in 2019, in the aftermath of two fatal crashes at the hands of the aircraft’s software system.
In the announcement, the company did make specific note of the fact that the aircraft belongs to the “737 MAX family” of aircraft, in its only reference to the previous name.
Boeing has not yet confirmed if it intends to officially rebrand the aircraft.
Boeing welcomes first order since November 2019
After Boeing received zero new orders to date this year, Polish charter airline Enter Air has reportedly placed an order for two new 737-8 aircraft, with options for an additional two aircraft, according to the planemaker.
This could take Enter Air’s 737 MAX fleet to a total of 10, after taking delivery of two 737 MAX aircraft in 2018, and holding four additional as-yet unfulfilled orders for the jet.
Enter Air stated that it had come to an agreement with Boeing to address the impact of the 737 MAX groundings, with S&P Global analysts suggesting that that the airline “likely got a significant discount”.
The Polish airline also intends to defer the deliveries of a number of its previously ordered 737 MAX aircraft, in light of weaker travel demand.
“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,” Enter Air board member Grzegorz Polaniecki said of the agreement.
Boeing’s senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing said the company is “humbled” by Enter Air’s “commitment to the Boeing 737 family”.
Over 400 MAX orders have been cancelled so far this year, with total cancellation and conversions sitting at 864, based on tighter accounting standards.