A photographer takes a picture of the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet during its assembly at the company’s Renton plant in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) In addition to praising Tiger Woods and pillorying Democrats, President Donald Trump had some words of advice on Twitter for Boeing, which is dealing with federal investigations in the wake of two catastrophic 737 MAX crashes. “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President),” , “but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?” What, indeed? In 1988, Trump acquired 17 Boeing 727s and landing rights at airports in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., from Eastern Air Lines’ shuttle operation. He added some additional features to the plane and rebranded the operation as the Trump turned the no-frills service into a luxury experience, right down to the gold-colored bathroom fixtures — but . Trump Shuttle fizzled out in 1992, in a haze of loan defaults, bank negotiations and acquisitions. The operational descendant of Trump’s airline is the American Airlines Shuttle, which no longer uses 727s. Instead, the service uses a mix of Embraer 175 and 190 jets, Airbus A319-100s and Boeing 737-800s. Those 737s come from the previous generation of Boeing’s 51-year-old 737 brand, and don’t have the MCAS automatic flight control system that’s been linked to the 737 MAX’s troubles. Boeing didn’t respond to Trump’s suggestions on Twitter, but there were plenty of wags who joked that he’d probably go for rebranding the plane as the 737 MAX planes have been grounded worldwide due to concerns surrounding the two fatal crashes, which occurred in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia last month. Boeing has developed a software update that it says will head off any further problems related to the MCAS system, but regulators haven’t yet approved the update. Thus, the timing for getting hundreds of 737 MAX airplanes back up in the air is … up in the air. Over the weekend, American Airlines said it would extend its cancellations of 737 MAX flights through Aug. 19. “By extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season and provide confidence to our customers and team members when it comes to their travel plans,” American Airlines’ executives explained . Meanwhile, Boeing, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Justice Department (in league with the FBI) are all conducting investigations into the 737 MAX certification process. And 737 MAX fuselages as well as finished planes are stacking up at sites ranging from Seattle’s Boeing Field to Wenatchee in central Washington state. They are quickly running out of room to store 's at — Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) They are quickly running out of room to store 's at Boeing Field as well. They will need to start sending them to either MWH or VCV for storage eventually. — Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) Looks like Wenatchee has begun collecting (?) fuselages. There were 5 sitting here all week; the other two arrived over the weekend. — Maria Langer
An artist’s conception shows a Garuda Airlines 737 MAX jet in flight. (Boeing Illustration) Indonesia’s national airline, , is saying it wants to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, citing the effect of two catastrophic crashes on passenger confidence. The order, , has a list-price value of roughly $6 billion. Only one of the 50 MAX jets ordered back then has been delivered to date. In interviews with media outlets including , , , , and , Garuda officials cited consumers’ low confidence in the 737 MAX in the wake of crashes that killed , and . “Many passengers told us they were afraid to get on a MAX 8,” Reuters quoted Garuda CEO Aria Askhara as saying. Garuda’s request hints at the economic impact that the crashes could have going forward. Boeing’s 737 MAX jets have been grounded worldwide as the crash investigations continue. Preliminary data suggest that an automatic flight control system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS played a role in both crashes. Boeing added the MCAS to the 737 MAX line as a safeguard against stalls, but spurious data from a single sensor that monitors air flow may have forced each plane into a dive. Reports relating to cockpit conversations suggest that the pilots on both flights , but apparently didn’t follow a specified procedure for turning off the MCAS system. One of the controversies surrounding the 737 MAX focuses on whether pilots were adequately trained about the MCAS and what to do if it malfunctioned. Another controversy has to do with indicators that Boeing can install on the plane to tell pilots that the suspect sensor system is providing mismatched data. The New York Times reported that the indicators. Boeing says it’s preparing to release a software upgrade aimed at addressing concerns about the MCAS system and the angle-of-attack sensors, and will change its pilot training program for the 737 MAX as well. The Transportation Department says it will for flight, and the FBI and Justice Department are . As of the end of February, Boeing , with 376 of those planes delivered. Deliveries have now been along with 737 MAX flights. Boeing says the 737 assembly lines at its plant in Renton, Wash., will be to “focus on completing work that was previously delayed.” Garuda’s request could be seen as the first publicly confirmed request for an order cancellation to be sparked by the crash controversies. However, analysts told Reuters that even before this month’s Ethiopian Airlines crash, Garuda was considering a shift in its airplane procurement plan. “We don’t want to use MAX jets … but maybe will consider switching it with another Boeing model of plane,” Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told AP. Boeing has declined to comment on Garuda’s cancellation request, but the airline says Boeing representatives are due to visit Jakarta next week for further discussions.