A US-based consumer advocate has called for the Boeing 737 MAX to remain grounded, with claims the jet’s “oversized” engines represent a big design flaw.
Speaking at an aviation safety event in Washington, prominent US consumer advocate and author of Unsafe at Any Speed Ralph Nader roasted Boeing for designing the 737 MAX from a 20th century airframe instead of designing a new plane from scratch, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The 737 MAX “must never fly again,” Nader said. “It’s not a matter of software. It’s a matter of structural design defect: the plane’s engines are too much for the traditional fuselage.”
It has also been claimed in reports that the size of these engines led Boeing to install the MCAS system – the same system implicated in two fatal crashes by the 737 MAX since October, resulting in the combined deaths of 346 people, reportedly including Nader’s grandniece.
Nader’s backlash to the jet comes amid reports that Boeing is still churning out at least one 737 MAX a day, with close to 100 jets worth close to $18 billion manufactured since their grounding in March.
Approval of the jet remains up in the air, with reports last week claiming the 737 MAX could return to the skies later this month.
However, experts and key players in the industry have put predictions for the date of its return as far back as this Christmas.
“You’re going to have a bit of a delay in terms of regulators, Canada, Europe, China,” president of Emirates Tim Clark told Bloomberg at the IATA annual meeting in Seoul, last week.
“It’s going to take time to get this aircraft back in the air. If it’s in the air by Christmas, I’ll be surprised.”
And the delay is reportedly proving too much for some airlines. According to a report by The Australian, Icelandair this week laid off 45 of its 737 MAX pilots.