MAX update: Boeing bolsters order sheet, new program head announced

written by Hannah Dowling | March 15, 2021

Boeing has now confirmed a previously touted new order for 24 737 MAX jets from private investment firm 777 Partners.

The order includes an option to purchase an additional 60 MAX aircraft from the troubled US planemaker in the future.

777 Partners, which has a stake in Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines, will lease 13 of its new MAX jets to Flair, as previously reported.

Flair was recently re-launched by ULCC veterans chief executive Stephen Jones and chief commercial officer Garth Lund, both formerly of Wizz Air.

Flair will begin accepting delivery of the new aircraft in early 2021.

It comes following news that Boeing secured 42 new orders for its 737 MAX in February, 25 of which are for United Airlines.

It also comes following growing rumours that Texas-based Southwest Airlines is gearing up to order dozens of MAX jets from Boeing, in what could be the planemaker’s biggest order on the type since it was grounded around the globe in 2019.

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New orders are welcomed by the embattled planemaker as it suffers from the ongoing COVID crisis, while trying to clear its backlog of more than 400 737 MAX jets parked at its facilities.

Meanwhile, Boeing has now named its new general manager of the 737 MAX program going forward, veteran engineer Ed Clark.

Clark will be the fifth person to take on the role in the last four years, as the program faced major challenges, not least with the near two-year flight ban on the jet over major safety concerns.

Clark was previously the chief mechanic and engineer for the MAX program, and will now take over Walt Odisho’s role and run the program from Boeing’s Renton hub.

Odisho is retiring from his post, after 32 years in the manufacturing industry.

Clark will largely face the challenges of clearing the backlog of parked MAX jets built prior to the two-year grounding, as well as work through the public image issues that continue to plague the MAX.

This week also marks the two-year anniversary of the second fatal MAX crash, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.

A final report on the investigation into this flight is expected within days.

Together, the two MAX crashes killed 346 people.

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