Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker expects that Boeing will need to rename the 737 Max after the damage done to its brand reputation in the wake of the grounding that followed two fatal accidents within five months.
The Qatari carrier has placed orders for 20 Max 8s, of which five have been delivered to Air Italy, in which it holds a 49% stake. Speaking at the show, Al Baker said Qatar Airways had no requirement for additional 737 Max aircraft and awaited the resolution of the grounding issues.
"The only thing that we difficulty with will be how to convince people to get into a Max, because of the reputational damage," he says.
"We have full confidence in Boeing that the issues will be resolved, and regulators will certify the aeroplane."
When asked what could be done to address the brand-reputation issue, Al Baker said: "I think Boeing will have to come up with something to rename this aircraft."
Boeing announced its first business for the Max at the Paris air show on 19 June when IAG announced commitments for 200 aircraft. Interestingly, the IAG statement made no reference to the Max name, referring to the aircraft as "737-8" and "737-10".