Boeing reveals subtle renaming of 737 MAX while announcing new order from Enter Air

The MAX aircraft have been grounded for over a year after two fatal accidents.
The MAX aircraft have been grounded for over a year after two fatal accidents. Photo credit: Boeing.

In a profit starved industry, the announcement that Enter Air will be ordering four new aircraft from Boeing will be welcome news for the manufacturer, but it's what's not in the announcement that's got the industry talking.

A statement from Boeing this week confirmed the sale of four 'Boeing 737-8s' to Polish airline, Enter Air.

The word that's missing is 'MAX', seemingly dropped from any reference to the future plans of the 737 programme.

"Despite the current crisis, it is important to think about the future. To that end, we have agreed to order additional 737-8 aircraft. Following the rigorous checks that the 737 MAX is undergoing, I am convinced it will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come," said Grzegorz Polaniecki, general director of Enter Air said - noticeably referring to 'MAX' in the past tense. 

All Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft remain grounded while investigations continue into the two near identical crashes of a Lion Air flight in October, 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March, 2019 that killed 346 people in total.

Enter Air began operations in 2010 with a single 737 airplane. That fleet has now grown to 22, made up of Next-Generation 737s and two 737 MAX airplanes. 

The basis of the deal with Enter Air may also be hidden in the detail. The airline had been negotiating a settlement with Boeing over the "commercial impacts stemming from the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet".

The details of the agreement are confidential, but it's likely the airline got themselves a bargain with Boeing providing "compensation in a number of forms" - probably including cheap aircraft.

It's not the first attempt to remove the word MAX from the aircraft name. In July last year, crews were caught painting over the word on the side of Ryanair aircraft in the UK. Talk of the name change made it all the way to the White House with President Trump weighing in on Twitter.

"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 [sic]. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?"

Boeing are yet to officially comment on any plans to rename the aircraft, but if the latest announcement is anything to go by, their intentions seem clear.