The mighty $$$ always exerts too much influence over safety. For example the De Havilland Comet was not grounded as soon as it should have been. Boeing was desperate to get FAA approval for the B777 ETOPs approval over the line in the 1990's and exerted a lot of pressure on the regulator. Air NZ deciding that sight seeing over the Antarctica would be so much better at a low altitude totally forgetting that they were relying on limited navigation aids. Air NZ sending out the 2nd B787, after the first aircraft had suffered a total engine failure. It is more than just luck that Qantas has had such an excellent record...
Now, it's the FAA dragging its feet on the B737 Max.
I'm not sure where you got your facts from. Very little of what you say is very relevant to the recent 737 crashes.
The Comet was grounded immediately after both inflight break ups. After the first investigation it was thought an in flight fire was responsible and the aircraft was cleared to fly after several modification were made around fire protection and other systems etc, after the second one they discovered the fatigue issue and the current model was withdrawn from service.
As for the ETOPS approval, there's always a lot of pressure/convincing of the regulator required. Was there ever any lives lost? Didn't ETOPS prove to be very safe?
The Air New Zealand crash in Antarctica had nothing to to do with limited navigation aids. That aircraft had a state of the art INS navigation system. It could very accurately transit the Pacific where there are very few navigation aids. The navigation system very accurately took the aircraft to where it crashed. Only problem was where the aircraft was programmed to go and where the crew though it was programmed to go were two different places.
I'd be willing to bet Air New Zealand's decision to keep operating the 787 after the first engine failure was done only after consultation with Rolls Royce who would have had real time data on the engines.
Excellent record of Qantas? I guess you are overlooking the likes of QF1 the 747 that went golfing in Thailand. It cost more to rebuild than it was worth, but allowed Qantas to boast they had never lost a hull.
You are correct about the $$$$$, but not in that way you seem to be suggesting. Airlines are looking to cut costs, and training is a big cost. How is it other crews have had similar problems and successfully landed the aircraft? I'd suggest training has made the difference and in one case case perhaps ability may have been a contributing factor.
I'm not saying any fault (assuming there is one) is acceptable. However with proper training and following the emergency procedures correctly, emergencies can almost always be managed to a successful outcome as has been shown already with this problem on the 737 Max. That's why the pilots are sitting in the best window seats in the aircraft. It will be interesting to see the full reports when they come out. I rather suspect a lack of training or incorrect procedure will feature in the causal factors.
Re. the Comet, I found this on the Wiki article which does point to pressure to get the aircraft back into service too quickly:
'The prestigious nature of the Comet project, particularly for the British aerospace industry, and the financial impact of the aircraft's grounding on BOAC's operations, both served to pressure the inquiry to end without further investigation. Comet flights resumed on 23 March 1954.'
And this about the Erebus disaster:
'The airline initially alleged that the flights did not descend below 16,000 feet that would give 3000 feet clearance between the aircraft and any high ground in the area including Mount Erebus' This of course was the practice for the first flights and an extremely prudent and good idea. However, the wish to make the flights more commercially viable led to descent to lower altitudes being allowed.
And about the Air NZ B787 engine incidents. Even if Rolls Royce did tell Air NZ it would be perfectly fine to send out the second aircraft, if Air NZ had used an abundance of caution about the advice being given by RR & the commercial context in which that advice had been given, they might have reached a different conclusion. Of course Air NZ were desperate to keep those planes flying just as RR was. Another reason for an abundance of caution would have been the routes Air NZ fly, including the routes to South America. It's not like the route flown by airlines from Singapore to Europe where there a multiple alternate airports for most of the journey. If a B787 engine decides to shred itself while flying over Bulgaria or Hungary it's an entirely better situation, than having it happen halfway to Argentina!