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A picture posted to Twitter on Sunday of a new Boeing 737 MAX suggests that the American plane manufacturer may be open to renaming its troubled plane after all.
Captured by planespotter Woodys Aeroimages at Boeing’s Seattle plant, the latest 737 MAX 200 plane produced for Irish airline Ryanair no longer has “737 MAX” on the side of its cockpit, but rather 737-8200.
The plane is still referrred to as the 737 MAX 200, denoting the larger version of the “8” aircraft. But it seems that either Ryanair or Boeing itself has made a decision to drop the “MAX” label from the aircraft.
— Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) July 15, 2019
Looks like @Ryanair is dropping the MAX title from is new #737MAX200 aircraft. Instead of “737 MAX” on the nose the 5th aircraft rolled out of paint wearing “737-8200” in its place. pic.twitter.com/37HH5axgQx
— Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) July 14, 2019
Interestingly, removing the MAX label and simply using 737-8 also fits in with current Boeing trends of suffixing the single series number, like Boeing’s 747-8, or 787-9.
It’s not clear if there are more aircraft or airlines set to simplify the plane series’ name, nor if this was a decision made by Boeing, Ryanair, or both. Either way, it’s less likely a painter’s error, and more likely influenced by this particular plane series’ troubled history.
Two 737 MAX 8 crashes within six months, in Indonesia last year and Ethiopia earlier this year, killed a total of 346 people. Although the reason for the accidents have not yet been determined, Boeing believes that it’s MCAS safety system played a role in both.
Notably, the plane version involved in both was the smaller variant, the 737 MAX 8, not the slightly different 737 MAX 200 that Ryanair has on order. The largest low cost carrier in Europe has more than 100 of the 737 MAX 200 yet to be delivered.
It’s not yet clear when the Boeing 737 MAX fleet will be allowed to fly again, or if they’ll be using that name when that time comes.
Ryanair’s currently the largest global operator of the older Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Feature image: The Boeing 737 MAX 8, by Boeing