The Public Perception

Photo of a woman looking a screen denoting flight times at an airport.

It appears Boeing is making some progress in the 737 Max debacle.

It’s improved the software, it’s working on the hardware and it’s pilot-training.

From a manufacturer standpoint progress is being made.  Additional redundancies and safeguards will give the airlines confidence to fly the jets once again.

But what about the public?

Sure, flying is very safe, the safest it has been in years — but would you want to be one of the first to step foot on the grounded aircraft?

Many of the most successful aircraft flying to today have had their share of hardships.

Most recently, the 787 was grounded in its early days over safety concerns surrounding Lithium ion batteries.  The problem was quickly corrected and now the jet is providing flights on routes once seen as economically and logistically impossible.

The DC-10 had some devastating moments.  An engine fell off after taking off from Chicago in 1979 ending with the jet crashing and bursting into flames.  A decade after that, another DC-10 crashed after an explosion in its rear engine.

Even the 737 has had problems over the years with its rudder.

But in the end, all of the aircraft prevailed.

In this age of 24/7 news, Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging, will the public be less forgiving?  Will people be afraid to board a MAX plane?

Will Boeing and the airlines have to get its corporate leadership to go on flights, to convince the public their aircraft are safe?

Publicity aside, Boeing and the airlines must provide substance. Concrete examples of their shortfalls and the strategic steps to address them. No system, no vehicle, no organization is perfect.  But transparency is the first step in regaining confidence.