MIAMI – The Boeing Company appointed veteran engineer Ed Clark as the new chief of the 737 MAX program. Clark will be the fifth executive to hold the post since 2018.
First reported by Bloomberg, Clark is to handle the Renton factory where the 737 aircraft have been produced by Boeing for more than half a century. In 2018, the program faced parts shortages and hundreds of undelivered jets in a grounding that was imposed in March 2019 after two fatal crashes.
Before joining Boeing as chief mechanic in 2006 for single-aisle replacement research, Clark held leadership positions with the world’s largest 737 aircraft operator, Southwest Airlines. Recently, he served as vice president of global technical operations with the global services division of the aircraft manufacturer.
Clark succeeds the former Toyota engine executive Walter Odisho, who was appointed by Boeing as a vice president responsible for production, safety, and quality in 2013. After taking over the Boeing 737 program a year ago and bringing the Renton site back up following a four-month shutdown, Odisho is ready to retire.
In a company memo, Mark Jenks, vice president of airplane programs, said that Odisho “has been a tireless advocate for safety and first-time efficiency.”
Taking back the Skies
The past few weeks have been good for Boeing, whose shares jumped as much as 4.5%, as reported by Seeking Alpha, to the company’s highest intraday level in a year following reports that Southwest Airlines (WN) is eyeing a large order for the MAX and as the type is being recertified worldwide, and with 24 being ordered by Miami investment firm 777 Partners.
While WN, an all-Boeing operator, is close to placing a mega order for the Boeing 737 MAX, the carrier previously has been evaluating the Airbus A220 to support its 150 seat fleet. This means stiff competition from the tandem behemoth airframers. As with most purchases, Seeking Alphas‘ Dhierin Bechai says, “the price point of the aircraft is going to make the deal fall one way or the other.”
As Bechai puts it, “a potential order from Southwest Airlines for the Airbus A220 is not something I have given a lot of attention to. Not because I don’t believe it cannot happen, but because there are so many elements that would make it a huge blow to Boeing if they were not to receive this order from Southwest Airlines.”
As always, Airways will cover any significant orders for the Boeing 737 MAX as the previously troubled type is gearing up to cross the skies once again.
Featured Image: Brandon Farris/Airways