President Donald Trump on Monday urged Boeing to "fix" and then immediately "rebrand" its 737 Max jets, after a crash in March in Ethiopia and another last October in Indonesia killed a total of 346 people.
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“What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?” Trump tweeted on Monday.
The tweet comes as the Chicago-based company has been under immense pressure after the crashes spurred an international grounding of the fleet and launched numerous federal investigations. Boeing shares have also suffered, falling more than 15 percent since the second crash in March.
Initially, the Trump administration stood by Boeing's Max 8 and Max 9 following the crash, even after several international airlines and countries immediately grounded the fleet pending an investigation.
Without naming Boeing's situation specifically, Trump tweeted in mid-March, "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!"
Orders for Boeing "once bestselling" aircraft have slowed and the company has said it stopped deliveries and plans to submit a software fix to Federal Aviation Adminstration regulators within the next month.
Several U.S. airlines have also extended its Max cancellations through the summer. American Airlines said on Sunday it is extending cancellations for Boeing 737 Max aircraft through August 19 due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s mandate to ground of the jet. The airline, which flies 24 of the Max jets, said 115 flights will be canceled, which represents 1.5 percent of American’s daily flights this summer.