Will passengers feel ready to hop on a 737 MAX jet after the aircraft is again cleared for flying? A poll released Sunday says that a quarter of those asked would not want to get on the beleaguered Boeing (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report aircraft that was involved in two fatal crashes since October.
"As you may know, the Boeing 737 MAX airplane has been grounded by the federal government until problems with the planes have been corrected. If the government certifies that the problems of the Boeing 737 MAX airplane are corrected, will you fly on them just as readily as on any other planes, or will you try to avoid them even though they have been certified as safe or do you not have an opinion about this one way or the other?" asked the NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll of about 1,000 Americans earlier this month.
A quarter of respondents said they would avoid the jet, while 37% indicated they would get on board as readily as on any other airplane. A total of 36% of respondents said they had no opinion, and 2% saying they were not sure.
The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies and mainly focuses on opinions about President Donald Trump, hot political issues and the Democratic candidates for president. But thrown into the mix is the one question about the high-tech 737 MAX aircraft.
The jets have been grounded around the globe following a crash in March in Ethiopia, killing all on board, and another over Indonesia in October that also killed everyone on the jet.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the survey by email Sunday, but instead pointed to a recent statement made by chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on "the issue of restoring trust in the 737 MAX" that reads, "We'll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our airline customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead. We take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes that are safe to fly and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world. My team and I are working closely with our customers to answer their questions, get their feedback and ensure those who operate the MAX are prepared when the grounding is lifted and the fleet returns to flight."
American Airlines (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report -- the world's largest airline -- recently had further pushed back its grounding of 737 MAX jets, through Sept. 3, missing most of the summer travel season.
Another Boeing spokesman also added Sunday that Muilenburg made it "clear" over the weekend at an event in Paris that "safety is our priority and we have not indicated a timeline for the certification and return to service."
The software update for the 737 MAX is complete, said the spokesman, and the company is working with Federal Aviation Administration on next steps for the certification flight for the MAX. "And then we would work to secure FAA certification and then work towards safe return to service to return," said the spokesperson, Chaz Bickers, in an email to TheStreet.
This story has been updated.
Correction: An earlier version of this story transposed the percentage who said they had no opinion vs. were unsure about flying on a 737 MAX jet.