Irish aviation executive would have ‘no problem’ flying on Boeing 737 Max

John Slattery set to become president and chief executive of Boeing Brazil Commercial if venture deal with Embraer is approved

A leading Irish aviation executive who is in line to take up a senior role with Boeing next year said he would be happy to be one of the first passengers to travel on a Boeing 737 Max jet whenever the aircraft is certified as safe to fly again by regulators.

Speaking to The Irish Times on a trip to Dublin to promote Embraer's new E195-E2 jet, John Slattery said: "From a personal perspective I would have no problem being one of the first guys to book a regular ticket on a Max 7, a Max 8, a Max 9 or a Max 10 once they start flying. I've complete confidence in the Boeing company.

“I’m hopeful that the global authorities on certification can come together and get an understanding for an aligned global re-entry into service programme. I hope we’ll get there as soon as possible. This will be one of the safest aircraft in the world, and I’m confident that the Boeing company will bounce back from this, no question.”

The 737 Max was grounded in March following two crashes in the previous five months that resulted in 346 deaths, and Boeing is awaiting clearance from regulators to return the aircraft to service.


Mr Slattery is set to become president and chief executive of Boeing Brazil Commercial if a joint venture deal with Embraer is approved by regulators globally.

He is currently president and chief executive of Embraer Commercial Aviation, a significant arm of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer. Boeing and Embraer have already received clearance in the US and Japan for the deal, but the European Commission announced on October 4th that it would undertake an in-depth investigation, with February 20th next year the date for a decision.

The commission said it was concerned that the transactions could lead to “higher prices and less choice” in the industry.

Supply chain

Mr Slattery said: “We do not believe that this transaction will result in higher prices,” citing economies of scale in the supply chain that could be passed on through lower prices. “I’m hopeful with a high degree of confidence that the commission will see their way to approving the transaction.”

What happens if the EU rejects the deal or attaches conditions to the proposed joint venture?

“We’ll have to cross that bridge if we come to it. We are hopeful that the data set is so clean and we have been so transparent with the commission that they will see there is no overlap. I would find it difficult to understand why the commission would turn this down.”

Embraer and Boeing are also awaiting approvals from regulators in Brazil and China.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times