In March 2019, airlines and governments around the world grounded the Boeing 737 MAX in response to a fault in the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which resulted in two crashes in October 2018 and March 2019.
In May 2019, Boeing completed a software update and developed updated pilot training. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he expects to have the planes ungrounded by the end of 2019. With this announcement, GBTA polled its U.S. buyer members looking to assess the concern and impact of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings on business travel. View the full poll here.
- Travel managers are personally concerned about taking a commercial flight on a Boeing 737 Max. Eight in ten travel managers say they are either very (38%) or somewhat (43%) concerned about flying on a Boeing 737 Max.
- Not only are travel managers concerned, but their employees are as well. Six in ten travel managers say their employees have expressed ‘a lot’ (19%) or ‘some’ (40%) concern about flying a 737 Boeing Max for business travel.
- One in three (28%) report their employees have expressed ‘not too much’ concern and one in ten (12%) report their employees have reported no concerns about flying the Boeing 737 Max.
- Travel managers are concerned about their employees flying a 737 Boeing Max for business travel. Six in ten (59%) say they are concerned about their traveler’s safety and one in five (21%) say they are concerned about their traveler’s personal concerns about their safety.
- One in ten travel managers (11%) are have liability concerns if something should happen to their travelers flying on a Boeing 737 Max.
- Travel managers believe travelers will change their travel plans to avoid flying on a Boeing 737 Max. Two-thirds say they believe travelers are either very (19%) or somewhat (48%) likely to change travel plans to avoid a Boeing 737 Max.
- Less than one in five travel managers are not very (13%) or not at all (3%) likely to change their travel plans to avoid a Boeing 737 Max.
- Almost one in five (17%) of travel managers believe their employees are neither likely nor unlikely (17%) to change travel plans.
- Confidence in the problems associated with the Boeing 737 Max being resolved are mixed. Four in ten travel managers are very (8%) or somewhat (32%) confident the recent problems associated with some of the Boeing 737 Max have been corrected and are safe to fly.
- One in three (30%) report they are neither confident nor unconfident the problems have been corrected.
- Another one in three report they are not very (23%) or not at all (8%).
- Travel managers strongly feel government and regulatory agencies are best suited to communicate the Boeing 737 Max is safe to fly.
- Seven in ten managers say the FAA (72%) and National Transportation Safety Board (72%) are best suited to communicate the model is safe to fly. In addition, four in ten (42%) cite the Department of Transportation as a trusted information source (which manages the FAA).
- One in three say third party engineers (34%) and the International Air Transport Association (32%) are also suited to communicate the model is safe to fly.
- Fewer travel managers feel airlines (28%) and Boeing (23%) are best suited to communicate the model is safe to fly.
The poll was fielded from June 7-11, 2019 and received responses from 155 GBTA U.S. buyer members yielding an 11.9% response rate.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.