A survey of travel managers has found that 80 per cent are concerned about their travellers flying on the Boeing 737 Max when it eventually returns to the skies.

The research, conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) for the Financial Times, found two-thirds of travel managers believe their travellers might change plans to avoid flying on the aircraft, which has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes.

Thirty-eight per cent of those polled said they were personally ‘very concerned’ about flying on the 737 Max, while 43 per cent were ‘somewhat concerned’. Nineteen per cent believed it was ‘very likely’ that employees would book flights not served by the aircraft and 48 per cent said this was ‘somewhat likely’, according to the Financial Times.

When asked about their confidence in the problems with the aircraft being resolved are mixed – only 4 per cent are very confident, while 32 per cent are somewhat and 23 per cent are ‘not very’ confident.

Furthermore, travel managers seemed reluctant to trust airlines and Boeing when it comes to communication about the status of the 737 Max. Seventy-two said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is best placed to say when the aircraft is safe to fly, but 28 per cent said the same of airlines and only 23 per cent said they would trust Boeing’s communications.

GBTA executive director Scott Solombrino told the publication that companies will be looking for “transparency” when the 737 Max is deemed safe for flying and will “want someone to say that the plane is fine and not just Boeing or the FAA”.

The FAA has refused to put a timeline on when the aircraft will be re-certified for safety, with the regulator still testing a Boeing software update for the plane and determining what level of training it will require pilots to undergo in relation to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

The manufacturer has also issued a safety warning to customers after it was discovered that a wing part built by a third-party supplier might be defective. Boeing is working with airlines to replace the affected part.

Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have extended flight cancellations caused by the grounding of the 737 Max through September.

Read the original Financial Times article here

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