Re: Will the 737 MAX ever be safe?
"A multi year backlog of orders for the A320NEO"
Unfortunately, so does everyone else (including Boeing)
The current backlog of orders for A320 and 737 families is about 6000 EACH - changing horses mid race simply isn't possible. This is WHY there's been a scramble for other makers to push into the lower capacity end of the market and why orders are still being announced for 737MAX that won't even be metal coming out of the foundry for another 5+ years (good PR but it's still not a shipped aircraft)
This is _the_ sharp end of the market. The larger stuff is high risk, high expense, high profile technology that costs billions and has sunk a lot of makers who made the wrong call at the wrong time - DC10, L1011, Convair990, A380, Saunders-Roe Princess, Brabazon, etc
737 and A320 production numbers pretty much eclipse every other jet transport _combined_ and would likely come close to matching all multi-engine commercial transports produced since 1935
The utterly stupid thing was that Boeing might have lost a bit of face and time developing a new airframe but their order book is so full it wouldn't matter and more importantly Airbus' order book is so full that adding more orders simply adds production delays. The MAX was a case of "we've gotten away with rat rodding this thing so far to compete with Airbus, the FCC have given us the nod even though the NG shouldn't have passed. We should be able to do it at least one more time"
Instead Boeing have shot themselves in both feet with both barrels. They can afford to halt/delay production on 777s or 787s because only one of each of ships each week (which gives lots of elasticity in the line) and there's a fairly narrow profit margin, plus customers are relatively forgiving of short delays. 737s are the true breadwinners and every day without 2 of them flying off the assembly line into (increasingly irritated) customer hands is another day closer to going out of business.