Explaining American Airlines Gung Ho Attitude on the 737 Max Despite Pilots


Pilots and American Airlines see things quite differently on the 737 Max. It's a case of profits vs safety.

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Friday that even if other countries delay the ungrounding of the MAX, once the FAA approves it, American will start flying its 24 aircraft.

24 aircraft don't seem like a lot but the results speak for themselves: American Airlines cuts profit forecast as 737 MAX woes bite.

American Airlines slashed its profit forecast Friday largely due to the crisis around the Boeing 737 MAX, a somewhat more profound hit to operations and customer bookings than at other carriers affected by the jet's grounding.

The US carrier estimated an overall hit of $350 million to its 2019 earnings as a result of the grounding ordered by global regulators in mid-March following two deadly crashes. That has forced the cancellation of nearly 15,000 flights and the re-accommodation of almost 700,000 customers.

Damn the pilots' concerns. Get those aircraft flying. Profits are at stake.

Also see Is 1 Hour of iPad Training on the 737 Max All That's Needed?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (21)
No. 1-8

I find it ironic that American Airlines ranked #4 safest among hundreds of airlines in the January 3, 2019 Airlineratings.com survey. CNN has an interesting article from the same date. It digests the ratings into a condensed version. However, none of this matters if you are on that one unlucky flight.

Bob Braan
Bob Braan

If you want to make sure you don't get on a 737 Max for an upcoming flight, book Delta. They don't have any 737 Max aircraft. Maybe they will expand their routes.

Bob Braan
Bob Braan

Boeing made many mistakes. Greed over safety. “In creating MCAS, they violated a longstanding principle at Boeing to always have pilots ultimately in control of the aircraft,” said Chesley B. Sullenberger III, the retired pilot who landed a jet in the Hudson River. “In mitigating one risk, they created another, greater risk.”

"Even Boeing test pilots weren’t fully briefed on MCAS."

“Therein lies the issue with the design change: Those pitch rates were never articulated to us,” said one test pilot, Matthew Menza.

Google "nytimes com/2019/04/11/business/boeing-faa-mcas"

Software developer and pilot's comments.

"It is likely that MCAS, originally added in the spirit of increasing safety, has now killed more people than it could have ever saved. It doesn’t need to be “fixed” with more complexity, more software. It needs to be removed altogether."

Google spectrum.ieee org/aerospace/aviation/how-the-boeing-737-max-disaster-looks-to-a-software-developer

3 airline pilot's response
"As an industry expert, I have flown the 737 max as a line captain and it was my 12th type rating. The MCAS is the tip of the iceberg, this airplane is majorly flawed not only aerodynamically but also technically. Never before have I encountered such strange behavior from an airliner."

Google moneymaven. o/mishtalk/economics/airline-pilots-respond-to-boeing-737-max-unsafe-to-fly-it-s-not-just-boeing

Another critical software flaw was found regarding the flaps. Boeing only checks for errors after crashes now? What else is wrong with it? How many other "flaws" are there that haven't caused crashes yet?

Google boeing-confirms-additional-problems-with-boeing-737-max-flight-controls

Boeing workmanship is so bad on the Air Force's new tanker aircraft that they have refused any more deliveries. Tools and parts were found left inside sealed areas of the aircraft. Garbage has also been found in brand new 787s, including a ladder that could have jammed the tail. Qatar Airways has refused delivery. Have the Max aircraft been inspected for garbage?

Google nytimes com/2019/04/20/business/boeing-dreamliner-production-problems

A Southwest 737 Max had an engine failure as well and had to make an emergency landing. They were just trying to move the empty plane. CFM engine overheating and failure is another issue.

Southwest had a deal with Boeing that no training would be required for the 737 Max or it would cost Boeing $1 million per plane. That explains why the bad aerodynamics and MCAS was kept a secret.

Google and watch the video of a former Boeing operations analyst; cnn com/2019/04/05/business/boeing-737-max-production-cut/index


Someone, or a group, with insight into aircraft safety, the aircraft industry and aircraft in general, should put together a site making it easier for people to determine what aircraft, how old they are, pilot training requirements and other information on a per flight basis. So that end users have an easier time making ticket buying decisions, based on something other than just Expedia's rock bottom lowest price.

People don't just buy the absolute cheapest of any other complex product. Which is what incentivized those who make them, to not build the absolute cheapest junk possible. The same dynamic would work wrt aircraft as well, but for it to do so; it can't be too labor intensive for prospective ticket buyers to gather the relevant information. Economic actors respond to incentives. Airlines, and by way of them aircraft makers, will too, if the ones ultimately paying for the product starts getting pickier about what they are getting for their money.


As a aviation enthusiast over my entire life, I can tell you I have never seen such a collection of people that sound like experts when they are not.

The level of misinformation and stupidity is getting close to Russiagate levels.


Boeing bent over backwards to keep the 737 name because they didn't want to have to go through full new plane approval from the FAA.

So, no one at the FAA saw that the engines were bigger and moved forward and thought that maybe shifting the center of gravity forward and having a lot more weight on the wings should require some inspection.

I feel really confident flying knowing the FAA has a handle on things.

Tom from Michigan
Tom from Michigan

Boeing trying to make a flawed airplane safe instead of making a safer plane. Must be paying their engineers a lot of money.


@Tom from Michigan No, like most US corporations, paying their engineers very little money, and abusing the heck out of them.

Global Economics