To put it in perspective, in North America, American Airlines and United Airlines have each ordered at least 100 of the airframes. These airlines each operate several different fleet types of similar sizes that each require putting pilots through extensive training to move them back and forth. The economics of operating the MAX would be changed but I would imagine it’s still going to come out as cost effective when considering how much more efficient the aircraft is vs the older aircraft they’ll be replacing.
I certainly appreciate the skepticism of getting the product back out there without extensive training. I think even after its all said and done the pilots and pilots’ unions will heavily advocate for additional training to ensure these things are being operated safely.
A new type rating cannot use grandfather rights. There is plenty of stuff in this plane that is not permitted any more (like the door design over the wings). Those would be massive changes to the plane.
That’s just one example though and you’re likely right. The thing is though most of these systems have modern adaptations that could be applied. They just haven’t been because of the desire to keep it a 737. They’re things that can be changed/fixed whereas the aerodynamics of the design cannot be be changed easily.
Oddly enough that news bulletin says it's still a plug door which it clearly is not in the final design.
Overall the root cause I believe is generally weight of doors and evacuation time. I had a few conversations about this around the time the second accident happened and grandfather rights were brought up by people from the industry I talked to as an expensive problem for a new type rating.
"It is the only modern Boeing jet without an electronic alert system that explains what is malfunctioning and how to resolve it. Instead pilots have to check a manual."
But if Boeing can get out of this disaster with a few more AoA sensors on each airframe, some safety-critical software, some simulators, and some free training for the airlines to send their pilots to...they'd be fools not to do that. A fleet sitting on the ground for months is worth a lot more than some simulator time.
Yeah, but at this point that’s just going to mean Boeing ends up selling these things for less of a profit. There’s years of backlog of 737 MAX orders, and years of backlog of A320 Neo orders.
Airlines with orders in for dozens of MAXes in 2021 aren’t going to be able to switch those orders to Neos without incurring years and years of delays on delivery.
That means that if 737MAX requires a new type certification, then it requires in order to make business sense for airlines either (at a minimum) additional costly fragmentation of the airlines' employee pool, or more likely making plans to retire the fleet of planes that are classified under the prior "not as profitable body design" of type certification.
My source is hard to narrow down, I've been listening to the APG podcast show, where Captain Jeff (the not-as-good-looking Jeff) flies MD-80's for "Acme Airlines", I guess which is a major US legacy carrier who has been renamed to protect the innocent. It might have been something I heard here, or read online, and I am not a pilot, so willing to be called out by anyone who knows more than me, please feel free to chime right in here if you know different. I can't seem to find a source for this fact.
I think perhaps what I misunderstood might be, if there is no law or regulation that says you can't be type certified in multiple aircrafts at once, actually have to turn in your current type rating in order to get another one... (???)
... but that the practicality of maintaining multiple type ratings for a pilot makes it something basically so expensive or onerous as an Airline Transport Pilot, that it would be practically unheard of for someone to maintain two type rating certifications at once for any period of time. And it seems logical the same thus goes for airlines themselves. The Southwest brand of cheap flights was originally made possible by the fact that their entire fleet was made up of planes with just one type rating. The more type ratings that must be maintained, the less nimble and profitable the company will be.
It seems likely we're going to see more airlines going under as this story unfolds, either that or some kind of major bailouts. I don't even know if they make any insurance that covers this scope and scale of business catastrophe.
The 737 MAX fleets will be big enough to justify the cost of maintaining a group of pilots that fly the MAX and a group that flies the 737NG. Just as they do now with multiple fleet types. If airlines were trying to just mix 30-40 of these in with the 737NG fleet the economics would break but when you’re talking a fleet of 100+ it starts working out. Of course it will end up making the economics worse than originally planned for but at this point what can you do? The A320NEO order book is filled for years so if you’re an airline CEO you’re stuck with the MAX.
As far as the airlines go none of them seem to be suffering significant financial damage yet. The pace of orders meant they were only going to have about 30-40 of these things by years end so they’re coping. It remains to be seen how it will affect them long term. DAL seems to have struck gold with the whole ordeal. As the only major US airline without the MAX they’ve increased capacity 2-3% more than planned and their recent Q2 shows it’s working out great.
I did not know this! Thanks for the added insight.
That's not my understanding: I think you can simultaneously be certified for multiple planes, however companies will only make you fly for one at a time, currently. My guess is that if the Max needs a new certification, it will create a whole new model given it is still really close to the NG (and basic 737, if they still fly), so it might be more convenient than risky (and costly) to allow pilots to be certified and fly on both, if really needed. Maybe this will not even be needed, because tons of companies use multiple types of aircraft already.