737 MAX: Boeing bet for Brazil and Africa

Last Sunday (the 10th), Boeing 737 MAX 8 from Ethiopian Airlines, flying from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, towards Nairobi, Kenya, crashed a few minutes after taking off and all 157 people on board perished. This was the second accident involving the same aircraft model less within five months and that sounded an alert signal regarding its safety, as this model has been sold so successfully.

The first accident involving this aircraft took place in Indonesia at the end of October. It was operated by Lion Air, the airplane crashed less than 15 minutes after taking off and none of the 189 people on board survived the crash. Due to this second accident, China, Indonesia, and Ethiopian were the first countries to ground the 737 MAX 8 until further information arises.

Ethiopian Airlines published a statement and confirmed that although the cause of the accident is not known yet, they still decided to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 arriving in China. The country was the first to ground the model after the second accident. (Photo: Thomas Peters/Reuters)

The 737 MAX has been the best-selling Boeing in the past few, accumulating over 5,000 orders from customers all over the world. Gol is the only airline company in Brazil using this model, and it has already ordered another 135 new aircrafts by 2028.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 was a best-selling plane (Photo: Boeing)

According to Richard Lark, the financial vice-president of Gol, this acquisition seeks to expand the operations of the Brazilian company overseas and improve its efficiency.  “The Boeing 737 MAX will standardize our fleet and then that will cut costs, increase productivity, and make us become more agile operationally. That will provide greater flexibility in maintenance procedures and switching aircraft throughout the entire network. The same airplane can be used on the domestic and international segments as well”, he said.

Gol, at first, did not manifest its intentions to ground or not the 737 MAX, a measure that caused a 3.8% drop in the company’s shares. Procon-SP (The São Paulo Consumer Defense Protection Program), however, informed through an official notice it will notify the company to suspend this model on all flights. “The purpose of this action is to prevent the occurrence of future accidents that could put in danger the lives of air transport users”, the entity confirmed.

The company decided, on Monday 11th, to temporarily to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Gol said in the text that it “reiterates confidence in the safety of its operations and in Boeing, an exclusive partner since the beginning of the company in 2001, and clarifies that it is intensively tracking all the facts that allow the return of the aircraft to the company’s regular operations in the shortest possible time ”

On the African continent, besides the Ethiopian Airlines, which is the largest airline company in the region, the Green Africa Airways, from Nigeria, also bet on the Boeing 737 MAX 8, and made an agreement to acquire 100 aircrafts. The purchase was considered the largest on the continent up to then, even though the company is still in the implementation stage.

“This historic agreement brings us closer to achieving our long-standing dream of building an airline company to open a new field of positive possibilities and serve millions of customers. Overall, this is a bold symbol of dynamism, resilience, and enterprising growth for the next generation of Nigerians and Africans”, confirmed Babawande Afolabi, founder, and CEO of Green Africa Airways.

After the accident, the Boeing shares dropped 13%, the biggest drop in the last three years. The company published an official notice affirming that it sent a technical team to the accident location to provide necessary support to the authorities.

In the world, the company that requested the most 737 MAX was Northwest Airlines, from the United States, with 280 units. The company has not yet positioned itself in relation to its actions.