"I believe in this airplane." 

By Alison Fox
January 23, 2020

Boeing is hoping to win over customers with when its troubled 737 Max plane is finally certified as safe to fly by winning over pilots first.

The hope comes as the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun, said this week that while production on the once-popular model has been suspended for now, the manufacturer does plan to restart that production before it’s certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to USA Today.

“It will fly safely and I am confident in that," Calhoun told the paper. "When pilots get on those airplanes and support those airplanes, I believe passengers will follow."

The 737 Max plane has been grounded since March 2019 following a pair of fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people. All three U.S. carriers that count the planes in their fleets — Southwest, American and United — have grounded them until at least the summer.

Boeing has predicted that the FAA will re-certify the planes by mid-year, according to USA Today. But the manufacturer won’t wait until then to ramp-up production of the beleaguered plane — it will, however, do so very slowly at first, CNN reported.

The Boeing 737 factory in Renton, Washington.
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The company currently has about 400 completed 737 Max jets parked in Washington and Texas that are waiting to be delivered to different airlines, CNN noted.

"The message that the markets and our customers have sent to us is… safety first," Calhoun said during a call with reporters, according to CNN. "Without it there is no shareholder value."

He added: “I believe in this airplane. It's not that I believe in because we built it. Pilots believe in it. I think even the FAA has a lot of confidence in this airplane.”

As for what the plane will be called when it finally hits the skies again? Don’t expect a name change.

"My instinct is a change with a new name would be sort of silly," Calhoun said.

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