The Boeing 737 Max return to Service and Competition: How Passengers' preferences would change due to the latent fear of flying


  • Alencar Bravo Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada
  • Darli Vieira Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada
  • Geraldo Ferrer Naval Postgraduate School United States



fear of flying, airplane, choice, flight accidents, air ticket, passenger, preference, Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Sukhoi


Fear of flying has no direct relationship with actual airline or aircraft safety. For those afraid of flying, the choice of an airline ticket and the related airplane is expected to be an important issue. This article uses a methodology to simulate the experience of purchasing unlabeled airline tickets to investigate whether individuals who are afraid of flying unconsciously change their choice depending on the ticket parameters. The Boeing 737 MAX, which became notorious for being grounded due to two recent accidents, was randomly assigned to airline tickets. This aircraft was compared with eight competing alternatives. The results demonstrate that in the event of a return to service, the passenger preference for this aircraft would be low comparable to that for competing modern airplanes that are less known to the North American public. Nonetheless, Boeing products continue to instill a sense of safety and trust in those afraid of flying.

Author Biographies

Alencar Bravo, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada

Alencar Bravo is a doctor in engineering from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, and he is a professor of project management at the same university. He also holds two professional master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon (France) and the Technical University of Catalonia (Spain). He has significant experience in the field of industrial research and in development projects of high technical complexity, especially in the automotive and aeronautical fields. Other areas of research interest include eco-design tools, techniques and methods; life cycle management and total cost of ownership; uncertainty and risk management; customer behavior; and management and support systems in projects.

Darli Vieira, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada

Darli Rodrigues Vieira, Ph.D., is a professor in Project Management at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Ex-professor at the Universidade Federal do Paraná and at the Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronáutica (ITA). For more than 20 years, he had the opportunity, as an industrial consultant, to accumulate knowledge and professional experience (aeronautics, automotive, cosmetics, telecommunications, harbour, etc.). His current research focuses on project management, logistics chain management, strategy and management of operations, and management of MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul). Recent publications include (books): Product Design Management (Edition Elsevier, with Abdelaziz Bouras and Denis Debaecker, 2013), Logistics Audit (Edition Elsevier, with Michel Roux, 2012), Distribution Centers Project (Edition Elsevier, with Michel Roux, 2011) and Analysis and design of logistic networks (Edition Saraiva, with Alain Martel, 2010).

Geraldo Ferrer, Naval Postgraduate School United States

Supply Chain Management Professor Geraldo Ferrer is an expert in the areas of global operations, supply chain management, sustainable technologies, product stewardship, reverse logistics and remanufacturing. He has studied the reverse logistics required in recycling and remanufacturing operations, and inventory problems affecting products made in small batches for frequent deliveries. He has presented his research in national and international conferences in four continents, and in invited seminars in various academic institutions.Dr. Ferrer has consulted for companies in the United States and abroad on process improvement, waste reduction and reverse logistics issue.


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How to Cite

Bravo, A. ., Vieira, D. ., & Ferrer, G. (2022). The Boeing 737 Max return to Service and Competition: How Passengers’ preferences would change due to the latent fear of flying. The Journal of Modern Project Management, 8(3).