Boeing 737 Cargo Makes Emergency Landing On Water

 

In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP
PHOTO FOR ILLUSTRATION: In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP

 

A Boeing 737 cargo aircraft with two crew on board was forced to make an emergency landing on the water off Honolulu early Friday after the pilots reported engine trouble, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Transair Flight 810 had been expected to go from Honolulu to Kahului, the main airport on Maui, according to aviation data from FlightAware.

The plane was “attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water” at about 1:30 am local time, an FAA spokeswoman said in a statement.

“According to preliminary information, the US Coast Guard rescued both crew members. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the statement said.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard, Petty Officer Third Class Matthew West, told CNN that a Coast Guard helicopter rescued one of the crew, while “a fire department helicopter rescued the other.”

A Coast Guard cutter was also dispatched to the scene.

Both crew members were taken to a Honolulu hospital for treatment, West said, adding he did not have additional information about their condition.

A source with knowledge of the incident told AFP that the plane appears to be a 737 Classic that was likely at least 33 years old.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company is “aware of the reports out of Honolulu” and “closely monitoring the situation.”

The aviation giant said it was in contact with the NTSB, which investigates civil air accidents, and was “working to gather more information.”

Both the FAA and the NTSB will probe the incident.

Landings on water are rare.

In January 2009, an Airbus A320 passenger jet made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York shortly after takeoff, after flying into a flock of geese, severely damaging both engines.

The pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, believed he could not make it back to LaGuardia Airport and landed the plane in the river, with 150 passengers and five crew on board. No one was killed in the incident.

Boeing’s safety record was called into question after the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX passenger planes in 2018 and 2019, leaving nearly 350 people dead. The plane was grounded for 20 months after the crashes.

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Boeing shares dipped slightly Friday after the announcement of the Hawaii incident.

 

AFP

Boeing Seals Large 737 MAX Order As Airlines Eye Recovery

RENTON, WA – NOVEMBER 13: A Boeing 737 Max airplane sits parked at the company’s Renton production facility on November 13, 2020 in Renton, Washington. David Ryder/Getty Images/AFP

 

US carrier Southwest Airlines agreed to buy 100 additional Boeing 737 MAX planes, the companies announced Monday, in a vote of confidence for the aircraft after a 20-month grounding.

The order, which includes options on another 155 new MAX planes, is the biggest for the model since regulators cleared it to resume service in late 2020 following two deadly crashes that sent Boeing into a crisis exacerbated by the industry downturn during the pandemic.

Southwest’s order is worth $12.5 billion at catalogue prices, which are almost never paid. The announcement means Boeing could build more than 600 new MAX jets for Southwest through 2031, Boeing said.

“Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and bellwether for the airline industry and this order is a big vote of confidence for commercial air travel,” said Stan Deal, president of Boeing’s commercial division.

“As vaccine distribution continues to pick up, people are returning to the skies and fueling hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry.”

READ ALSO: Pandemic Blamed For Lack Of VAR In World Cup Qualifiers After Ronaldo Fury

Single-aisle planes like the MAX, which are ideally suited for relatively short trips, have been seen as early beneficiaries of a post-pandemic recovery in which leisure and domestic travel are seen as recovering well before international and business travel.

– Staying ‘all-Boeing’ –

Southwest said the order followed a multi-year evaluation of its flying needs, pointing to advantages with the MAX that include a 14 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and quieter engines less disruptive to passengers.

The announcement also illustrates the enduring quality of the domestic-oriented US carrier’s relationship with Boeing despite a trying period during the MAX grounding.

During that lengthy strategy, Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly had at times criticized Boeing’s handling of the MAX crisis, even hinting at times that Southwest could purchase planes from Airbus and change its status as an all-Boeing carrier.

But on Monday, Southwest said the agreement with Boeing was a “cost-effective” vote in the “operational efficiencies of all all-Boeing 737 fleet,” according to a press release.

“Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plan to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our employees and customers for years to come,” Kelly said.

Major airlines continue to burn through cash due to low travel volumes, but improvement is expected in 2021 compared with a disastrous 2020.

Southwest said it “remains cautious” on its outlook due to Covid-19 and has not finalized travel schedules beyond May.

“The company will continue to plan for multiple fleet and capacity scenarios,” Southwest said, adding that the MAX order gives it greater flexibility to manage “in a variety of economic environments.”

Southwest said it expects delivery of 28 MAX aircraft in 2021, as well as 17 retirements of older planes.

The Southwest announcement comes on the heels of earlier significant MAX orders from Ryanair, United Airlines and investment firm 777 Partners.

Boeing continues to face litigation from families of victims who died in crashes on Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights, together claiming 346 lives.

In January, Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion in fines to settle a criminal probe with the US Department of Justice over claims the company defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX.

The US Federal Aviation Administration in mid-November cleared the MAX to return to service following upgrades to the plane and pilot training protocols. Other regulators have followed suit since then.

In addition to the positive developments on the MAX, Boeing said it resumed deliveries on the 787 Dreamliner planes after halting deliveries last fall due to production problems.

Shares of Boeing jumped 3.0 percent to $252.27 in early trading, while Southwest gained 0.9 percent to $61.82.

AFP

NCAA Lifts Ban On Boeing 737 Max Aircraft

In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP

 

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced the lifting of the ban on Boeing 737 Max Aircraft in the Nigerian Airspace, following the two accidents involving the Boeing 737 Max Aircraft.

According to a communique signed by Capt. Musa Nuhu the Director-General of the NCAA, the approval is effective 12th February 2021.

Consequent to the two accidents of Lion Air Flight 610, an Indonesia flight that crashed into the Java Sea 13mins after takeoff, and Ethiopian Airlines flight 320, which crashed six minutes after takeoff, the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika pronounced the ban on the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the Nigerian airspace.

On the 18th November 2020, the NCAA said it received a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) CAN-2020-24 advising it of the United States Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) ongoing continued operational safety activities related to returning Boeing Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) aircraft service.

READ ALSO: Seven Killed As Military Aircraft Crashes In Abuja Airport

This, however, made the FAA issue a final rule/Airworthiness Directive (AD) that mandated the following actions for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft which includes;

Install new flight control computer software and new 737 MAX display system software;

Incorporate certain Airplane Flight Manual flight crew operating procedures, Modify horizontal stabiliser trim wire routing installations;

Conduct an angle of attack sensor system test; and

Conduct an operation readiness flight.

NCAA  says it recognizes that a Joint Authority Technical Review (JATR) that comprised of International Aviation Authorities such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada (TC) and the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority amongst others carried out a joint review of the Boeing 737 MAX safety system alongside FAA and NASA.

In the light of this, the FAA has released documents on Boeing 737 Flight Standardization Board Report, revision 17, identifying special pilot training for the 737 MAX and Safety Alert for Operators.

NCAA further noted that it recognizes the joint review of the Boeing 737 Max Safety System and came up with the following actions required of all foreign and domestic operators:

All intending domestic operators are required to work with the Boeing Company and NCAA for the Aircraft Type Certificate Acceptance Programme in order to have the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft registered in Nigeria and issued with a Standard Certificate of Airworthiness.

All foreign air operators that intend to operate the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into Nigeria must submit evidence of compliance with the FAA AD 2020-24-02

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will continue to ensure strict compliance to Safety Regulations as violation[s] will be viewed seriously.

EU Regulator To Clear Boeing 737 MAX Flights Next Week

In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP

 

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) plans to clear the Boeing 737 MAX to fly again next week, 22 months after the plane was grounded following two fatal crashes.

“For us, the MAX will be able to fly again starting next week,” after publication of a directive, EASA director Patrick Ky said in a video conference.

“We have reached the point where our four main demands have been fulfilled,” Ky said during the conference, organised by the German association of aviation journalists.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes that together killed 346 people — the 2018 Lion Air disaster in Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines crash the following year.

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

READ ALSO: UN Seeks $76 million In Emergency Aid For Madagascar

Meant to keep the plane from stalling as it ascends, the automated system instead forced the nose of the plane downward.

The findings plunged Boeing into crisis, with more than 650 orders for the 737 MAX cancelled since last year.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered Boeing to revamp the jet and implement new pilot training protocols, before finally approving the plane for a return to service in November.

Ky had already indicated in October that EU approval was likely after Boeing promised a new sensor would be added to prevent the type of problems that caused the crashes.

– ‘We fell short’ –

EASA approval means airlines worldwide will again be able to start using the 737 MAX for flights to and from Europe.

Brazil has also cleared the plane for flights, and Canadian authorities said this week that approval was likely as soon as Wednesday.

The 737 MAX crisis, combined with the decimation of air travel after the Covid-19 outbreak, prompted Boeing to cut tens of thousands of jobs and also sparked a leadership shake-up.

The plane was meant to be Boeing’s fuel-efficient flagship in the highly competitive market for narrow-body jets, where its European rival Airbus has been highly successful with its A320 family of planes for short- to medium-haul flights.

This month, new Boeing CEO David Calhoun acknowledged that “we fell short of our values and expectations,” after the company agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle US criminal charges that it defrauded regulators.

Boeing also got a boost in December when Ireland’s Ryanair said it had ordered 75 more of the jets, the first major order since they were grounded.

The company is hoping Covid-19 vaccination drives will help improve its fortunes this year, after Boeing delivered just 157 planes last year, a 59 percent slump.

“In 2021, we’ll continue taking the right actions to enhance our safety culture, preserve liquidity and transform our business for the future,” chief financial officer Greg Smith said earlier this month.

Iran’s Top General Briefs Lawmakers Over Downed Ukrainian Jet

This handout picture provided by the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) on January 7, 2020 shows Iranian lawmakers raising their hands to vote during a parliamentary session in Tehran.  ICANA NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

Iran’s top Guards commander briefed parliament on Sunday, a day after the armed forces said a Ukrainian airliner was shot down in error in an admission that sparked an angry demonstration.

His closed-session testimony comes after the temporary arrest Saturday of Britain’s ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire, shortly after he left a vigil for the air disaster victims that turned into a protest.

On the day after the rally at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, tensions appeared to be mounting again on the streets of the capital, with a heavy police presence notably around the iconic Azadi Square south of the centre.

Riot police armed with water cannon and batons were seen at Amir Kabir, Sharif and Tehran universities as well as Enqelab Square. Around 50 Basij militiamen brandishing paintball guns, potentially to mark protesters to authorities, were also seen near Amir Kabir.

The military acknowledged Saturday that the Ukraine International Airlines plane was mistakenly shot down Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard, after denying for days Western claims it was downed by a missile.

The majority of those on the Boeing 737, which slammed into a field shortly after take-off from Tehran, were Iranians and Canadians, and many were students.

World leaders welcomed Iran’s admission, but Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others have also called for a full and transparent investigation.

The Kiev-bound plane was shot down at a time when Iran’s armed forces were on a heightened state of alert after launching a volley of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraqi military bases.

Iran had vowed to exact “severe revenge” for the January 3 US drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm.

Student protest 

The Guards’ top commander, Major General Hossein Salami, briefed parliament about the general’s killing, Iran’s retaliation and the downing of the airliner, semi-official news agency ISNA said.

At the end of the session, speaker Ali Larijani asked the Majles’ security and foreign policy commission to examine the air disaster and how to prevent such incidents from occurring again, ISNA said.

On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said a military probe into the tragedy had found “missiles fired due to human error” brought down the Boeing 737.

The Guards’ aerospace commander General Amirali Hajizadeh accepted full responsibility.

In the evening, a memorial at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University in honour of those killed turned into a demonstration that, AFP correspondents said, was attended by hundreds of students.

They shouted “death to liars” and demanded the resignation and prosecution of those responsible for downing the plane and allegedly covering up the accidental action.

Fars news agency said police “dispersed” them as they left the university and blocked streets, causing a traffic jam.

US President Donald Trump warned Iran against cracking down.

“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching,” he tweeted.

“We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage,” Trump said in a comment directed at protesters.

The latest demonstrations follow a crackdown on street violence that erupted across Iran over fuel price hikes in November. Amnesty International has said more than 300 were killed.

Calls for sackings 

Newspapers called for resignations and sackings over the handling of the air disaster.

Sazandegi, a moderate conservative publication, also apologised to its readers for having trusted official sources on the matter.

“Apologise, resign,” said the main headline of the reformist Etemad daily.

“Unforgivable,” said government newspaper Iran, which published all the names of those who died in the air disaster on the image of black plane tail.

Kayhan, a hardline daily, led on the supreme leader’s “strict orders” to follow up on the “painful incident of the plane crash”.

As public anger grew, state television aired interviews with people who it said “have not forgotten everything the Guards have done for the country”.

Britain’s ambassador to Tehran meanwhile took to Twitter to deny he had attended the demonstration before being arrested.

“Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy,” Macaire said, adding he had been detained half an hour after leaving the area.

“Normal to want to pay respects — some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting,” he tweeted.

The arrest triggered diplomatic protests, with London calling it a violation of international law and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell added his voice to the chorus of condemnation.

“Very concerned about the temporary detention of the UK Ambassador @HMATehran in Iran. Full respect of the Vienna convention is a must. The EU calls for de-escalation and space for diplomacy,” Borrell tweeted.

Iran’s Mehr news agency said Macaire was arrested for his alleged “involvement in provoking suspicious acts” at the gathering in front of the university.

AFP

Boeing’s 737 MAX Crisis Deepens, Hitting Shares

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane test its engines outside of the company’s factory on March 11, 2019 in Renton, Washington.  AFP

 

The pressure was mounting Monday on Boeing as newly-surfaced documents deepened doubts about the company’s ability to return a top-selling jet to service soon and amplified calls for a leadership shakeup.

Shares tumbled for a second day in a row after the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday sharply criticized Boeing for withholding key documents for months in probes following two crashes that killed 346 people.

The FAA rebuke added to the travails facing Boeing seven months after its top-selling jet was grounded, prompting Wall Street analysts to downgrade the company and raising speculation that it could be forced to temporarily halt production entirely on the jet.

Boeing’s board of directors was set to conclude a two-day meeting later Monday ahead of the company’s earnings release later this week and a congressional hearing at the end of the month.

Earlier this month, Boeing stripped Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg of his title as chairman, sparking speculation that he could soon be ousted from the company.

The newly-released documents raise questions about what Boeing knew about a key flight handling system implicated in crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights and whether the company has been forthcoming with regulators.

UBS downgraded Boeing, slashing its target price by $95 to $375 per share, citing “potential slippage” in the 737 MAX schedule, which has been grounded since mid-March. The matter also “heightens the potential of incomplete disclosure, which inherently puts more money/trust & time at stake.”

Another delay could “very well mean” a production pause on the 737 MAX, UBS said.

Boeing has previously described a production pause — which could potentially affect staffing and suppliers — as possible but not a likely course of action.

Shares of Boeing were down three percent at $333.98 in the early afternoon extending losses from Friday’s 6.8 percent drop.

 Cultural change needed? 

The latest twists in the MAX crisis stem from a November 2016 instant message conversation involving Boeing’s chief technical pilot for the 737, Mark Forkner, over the  performance of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System during a simulation.

The MCAS is a flight-handling mechanism believed to be at the center of two MAX crashes, which led to the plane’s grounding since mid-March.

In both crashes, the MCAS pointed the plane sharply downward based on a faulty sensor reading, hindering the pilots’ ability to control the aircraft after takeoff, according to preliminary crash investigations.

In the message to a colleague, Forkner describes the MCAS system as “running rapid in the simulator” at a lower speeds, adding that the performance was “egregious.”

Forkner had not conveyed this MCAS issue to the FAA, “so I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” he added.

Eight months earlier, Forkner had sought approval from the FAA to not mention the MCAS in the flight manuals.

The FAA, believing during certification that the MCAS system would activate only in rare cases and did not pose a threat to plane safety, gave the green light.

Forkner’s lawyer, David Gerger, said the conversation concerned the MCAS simulator that “was not reading right” and that Forkner “thought the real plane was safe.”

In its latest statement, Boeing said “we understand and regret the concern” generated by the messages from Forkner, who was involved in developing training and manuals for the MAX.

Boeing said it had not been able to speak to Forkner directly but pointed to his explanation that his comments concerned a “simulator program that was not functioning properly and was still undergoing testing.”

During the regulatory process, “Boeing informed the FAA about the expansion of the MCAS to low speeds, including by briefing the FAA and international regulators on multiple occasions about MCAS’s final configuration,” the company said.

Boeing had provided the messages to the Department of Justice in February, according to a person close to the matter.

UBS said there could be “very good explanations” as to why the information was not shared with the FAA, including the possibility the Justice Department had directed Boeing not to share it.

“Yet these new disclosures likely hit a nerve at the regulator,” UBS said, adding that “global regulators now have an even larger reason to delay their own return to service decisions.”

Richard Aboulafia, a vice president at the Teal Group, a market analysis firm, said the messages raise questions about Boeing’s board.

“Did they board know about the messages? If so why didn’t they say anything?”

Aboulafia called for a shakeup of the company and Muilenburg’s ouster.

“They need someone with a broader strategic view of transforming the company,” Aboulafia said. “They need a cultural transformation.”

AFP

Boeing Should Overhaul 737 Max Planes, Says Trump

Boeing 737 airplanes are pictured on the tarmac at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington on March 12, 2019./ AFP

 

US President Donald Trump lambasted the Boeing 737 Max plane on Monday, saying it should be improved with unspecified new features and given a new name.

The model has suffered two deadly crashes in a matter of months, the first last October in Indonesia with the death of all 189 people on board and then in Ethiopia on March 10, killing all 157 aboard.

Both accidents took place shortly after takeoff. Investigators are focusing on a system that is supposed to help the Boeing workhorse aircraft avoid stalling in flight.

“What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name,” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet.

READ ALSO: Malaysia Revived China Railway To Avoid $5 Bn Penalty – PM

“No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?” he added.

It is not the first time Trump has weighed in on the Ethiopian crash.

Two days after the plane went down, he tweeted that these days jetliners are “becoming far too complex to fly”.

He added: “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better.”

French Investigators Receive Black Boxes From Crashed Boeing 737 MAX

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane (file photo) Credit: AFPs

 

French investigators have received the black boxes from the Boeing 737 MAX that crashed east of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, France’s BEA airline safety agency said Thursday.

Ethiopian authorities had requested French help to analyse the content of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder to discover what caused the Ethiopian Airlines flight to plunge to the ground just minutes after takeoff on Sunday.

AFP

Boeing 737 Crash: Airplanes ‘Too Complex To Fly’, Says Trump

US President Donald Trump/ AFP

 

As investigators probe the latest deadly crash of Boeing’s bestselling airliner, US President Donald Trump weighed in Tuesday with his own explanation: modern planes are too complicated for pilots.

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” he tweeted, adding that instead of pilots, the planes require “computer scientists from MIT.”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!” Trump added in a second tweet.

READ ALSO: Boeing 737 MAX Planes Banned From British Airspace

“I see it all the time in many products,” the president continued. “Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better.”

Trump’s technical analysis came two days after a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 belonging to Ethiopian Airlines went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 aboard.

In October, a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

AFP

Boeing 737 MAX Planes Banned From British Airspace

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane test its engines outside of the company’s factory on March 11, 2019 in Renton, Washington. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/AFP

 

Britain’s aviation regulator on Tuesday banned Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from the country’s airspace following a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia, mirroring a decision taken by other nations.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement headlined “Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft” that “as a precautionary measure” it had decided “to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace”.

READ ALSO: Crashed Ethiopian Airlines Black Box Recovered

Britain has joined several other countries in banning the US planemaker’s 737 MAX planes from their airspace. More airlines around the world grounded the jets following what is the second deadly accident involving the aircraft in just five months.

On Sunday, a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board. In October, a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

“Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday,” the UK regulator added in its statement.

AFP