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PR Firm strategy needed to regain the public trust?

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PR Firm strategy needed to regain the public trust?

Old 25th May 2019, 13:24
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PR Firm strategy needed to regain the public trust?

I just heard that Boeing has hired a PR firm to rebuild/repair the public's trust in the 737 MAX series. To the guru's of this forum, what strategy might they employ to convince the public this aircraft is now safe? I was just wondering could work? I am new to this forum so hope my question is not naive.
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Old 25th May 2019, 16:19
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Originally Posted by Chas2019 View Post
haha! no I did not get a contract nor do I have a PR firm. i was just wondering what strategy a PR firm would use?
I would venture to suggest that the flying public heavily associate flying with the airlines they've booked with - pretty obviously. Since money always talks perhaps Boeing and 737 Max users could come up with a pretty hefty ticket discounting plan to lure people back? Personally I'm happy that if the pertinent authorities say its safe to fly the plane again I wouldn't hesitate to get on it and I would think that's the case with most people - generally we trust the 'experts'.
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Old 25th May 2019, 16:51
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I bet they change the name in some way from "Max" to something else?
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Old 25th May 2019, 17:08
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Originally Posted by mcdhu View Post
I bet they change the name in some way from "Max" to something else?
That's not as daft as it sounds (actually, it doesn't sound daft at all).

I wouldn't be surprised if Boeing take advantage of the fact that the aircraft are certificated simply as the 737-8 and 737-9 ("Max" being purely a marketing designation and only mentioned in a footnote on the TC) and just ditch the Max name completely.

After all, it kind of worked with the DC-10 and MD-10.
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Old 25th May 2019, 17:54
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Originally Posted by Chas2019 View Post
I just heard that Boeing has hired a PR firm to rebuild/repair the public's trust in the 737 MAX series. To the guru's of this forum, what strategy might they employ to convince the public this aircraft is now safe? I was just wondering could work? I am new to this forum so hope my question is not naive.
The problem with „convincing the public“ is that noone can be trusted in this case. Not authorities, not „experts“, not PR agencies, and certainly not Boeing. There is too much at stake: cash, employment, an American icon. Much action will be going on in the background to sort this out favorably for Boeing.
The public knows this, and hence they will be very suspicious about anyone giving them a show about a now safe airplane.
Just renaming the MAX into something else won‘t do here.

Trust can only be restored slowly. Let the MAX fly cargo, FAA and Boeing people for a year, crewed with average line pilots, not some Boeing test pilot hotshots. If it turns out that it stays airborne and the public doesn‘t get headlines about one coming down every month, regular airline operations might be considered again.
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Old 25th May 2019, 18:07
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Only a small fraction of the passengers know what model airplane they are flying on. Even the kerfluffle about the Max has not changed that.
Unless one is interested, the flight experience is shuffling through a gate and a tunnel into a tube to watch a so so movie and then to reverse the procedure.
So imho Boeing could rename the Max all they want, it will not have any impact on the large majority of the public.
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Old 25th May 2019, 19:20
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Only a small fraction of the passengers know what model airplane they are flying on. Even the kerfluffle about the Max has not changed that.
Not sure about that. In our world of ubiquitous, instant communications and amplification by social media, many more pax seem to be paying attention to equipment type than was once the case. And it would be very hard for them not to be exposed to news about the MAX.

In the wake of the UA-191 crash on departure from ORD, there was a rather long period during which pax were reluctant to fly the DC-10. (Of course, there were other DC-10 incidents that contributed to the reputation, notably the multiple cargo door failures.) For quite a long time after the Chicago crash, airlines were removing DC-10s from the more lucrative routes and advertising "747s only" between popular city pairs. The DC-10 ultimately overcame the bad reputation, but it took a while.

I expect the MAX to have a tough time with public perception for some time to come.


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Old 25th May 2019, 19:55
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Um, do exactly what they have been doing? A big helping of "blame the pilots" with a side of "third world airline" (*) and a dash of American exceptionalism.

One of the problems is that now people realize what an ancient aircraft the 737 is. Safety procedures that can tear the skin off of the pilot's hand or break his knee do not exactly shout out "modern technology." The plus side of such old technology is that it is tested and proven, but then two crash due to software bugs.

I think Boeing has bigger problems with perception than the 737 MAX at this point, but as far of the MAX goes they have really messed up since their primary customers are overseas. The US is probably easier to deal with because of the exceptionalism bubble; you can see it in the posts here. People still say that US pilots don't make errors, despite two hull losses by US airlines since the Lion Air crashed.

(*) Any airline based in a country that USians can't locate on a map, which is pretty much anywhere.
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Old 25th May 2019, 21:23
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You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted everything else -Winston Churchill

They could dispense with the BS and simply be accountable and responsible.
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Old 25th May 2019, 21:35
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Nah, too expensive. No-one's got that deep pockets.
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Old 25th May 2019, 22:09
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Originally Posted by jimtherev View Post
Nah, too expensive. No-one's got that deep pockets.
That was the attitude that got them into the predicament Boeing are in...It's some kind of sad recursive joke.

Unfortunately, my anecdotal observation is the ideologies of both communism and capitalism end up at the same ultimate destination: giant monopolies that that are laws unto themselves, and everyone just to accept whatever comes out of the sausage machine. Most importantly the, customer becomes the product, that is the customer is in the service of the monopoly, not the other way around.

What was the old Soviet joke? We used to pretend to work, and they used to pretend to pay us?
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Old 25th May 2019, 23:52
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The plus side of such old technology is that it is tested and proven, but then two crash due to software bugs.
Someone on one of the threads said, MCAS did what it was supposed to do. This could only be correct if one accepts it was indeed a flawed program. I'll go on a moment from an almost philosophical viewpoint.

I don't look upon this issue as 'bugs' per se, it is more a fundamental inadequacy in programming logic. If I understand correctly, the main issue was that the system can allow the failure of a solitary measuring device to become potentially 'catastrophic' by triggering inputs to the most powerful control surface, and that its jackscrew inputs go too far, too fast.
The UAS etc., are just further miserable consequences, but the above is the prime issue.

The cold reality is that if this aircraft had used three vanes, or had a comparator with logical 'most likely' decision-making, it would probably have flown for decades without even being realised. Sadly, the 'lessons learned' are pretty certain to be the most expensive in aviation history.

However, when you analyse the overall picture, the fact that it's a double catastrophe is as much a part of a bewildering coincidence as it is of what I termed the prime programming issues. The Vane failures are almost certainly very different technically. Boeing doesn't make the AoA Vanes.
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Old 26th May 2019, 00:31
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It is beginning to feel to me like the MAX may be a zombie that just doesn't know that it is dead yet. I have a hard time seeing how Boeing can charge the premium that they need to cover their development costs for this plane, and I have a hard time seeing how any fleet manager is going to be excited about upgrading their fleet. One more crash of a MAX for any reason and it is all over, so who wants to be sitting on a huge fleet of them that may be grounded again? Perhaps if Boeing had responded with something other than "we have complete confidence in the MAX" after the first crash and kept it up after the second, things would be different. What they really need now is a way to say they have fixed the problem and the process that created the problem, but they are too afraid to admit any liability (why?) and their baby steps in that direction always end up blaming the pilots. Total bluff may work in Trump world but not the rest of the world, and that is where they are selling these things. "We have replaced all of the doors and now they are safe" works, "Ignore the fact that two planes crashed, nothing to see here" doesn't.

Unfortunately for Boeing (but perhaps fortunately for the public) the grounding happened before any fleets were completely committed to the MAX. The schedule disruptions are painful but can be worked around, so nobody other than Boeing needs the MAX program to be successful. China will probably not let it fly again for a whole bunch of reasons unless Boeing sweetens the pot to some unreasonable level (large scale manufacturing moved to China) that Boeing would be foolish to accede to. So who knows. I think Boeing survives but they have to pull their heads out of the sand first, and probably axe a number of executives if for no other reason than to placate the people who report to those executives and are probably pretty pissed off right now.
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Old 26th May 2019, 04:11
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Old 26th May 2019, 05:04
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I keep seeing '360 hours, 207 test flights' - as though this means something in itself to us the uninformed. So what? MCAS1.0 logged thousands of uneventful hours.Tell me you've done 207 replications of the accident scenarios and how MCAS2 is different.
Low hour/inexperienced/tired/otherwise situationally challenged pilots and their bean counting employers aren't going anywhere by June, July or Christmas 2025. My assurance will come not so much from necessary (re)training, PR campaigns etc, but primarily from the knowledge this aircraft will no longer itself actively add to precursor technical challenges and/or any very human errors made addressing them.
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Old 26th May 2019, 08:22
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PR is not helpful now. Get the issue sorted out first. This is not about the packaging but about the content. The early spin doctoring backfired massively and upset many customers.
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Old 26th May 2019, 08:37
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With the NG now getting dragged in on the manual trim issue, PR is a very big requirement.

Imagine if China grounds the NG due to the change of tail plane area and reduced trim wheel and the deficiencies of the simulator characteristics (under simulated), then a few other regulators in "third world" under trained pilots countries also following China (Asia and Africa).

PR is a big issue not just for Boeing but equally so for the FAA (remember FAA act on data before grounding). The NG fails the data test on a "under" realistic simulator - so where is the FAA?
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Old 26th May 2019, 09:46
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give 10 MAXes to a ATPL training school and see how they do for a year..

G
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Old 26th May 2019, 09:52
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My suggestion.

They could get the FAA to certify it to fly domestically while the rest of the world looks into the whole 'can of worms' certification process for themselves. Then, in about a years time, we would all have a pretty good idea if the modifications being made by B, and the grandfather certification process etc etc are acceptable. Oh, and they could rename it the MaxUS
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Old 26th May 2019, 09:57
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Originally Posted by Kerosene Kraut View Post
PR is not helpful now. Get the issue sorted out first.
That's a typical type response from Boeing.

Declare its not helpful to discuss the problem now and try and shut down any current discussion/bad press.
When there is a fix, declare the problem is now fixed, so there's nothing to discuss now and lets just move on. So try and shut down any discussion after the fact too.
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