Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Etihad to cut 50 pilot positions

Etihad Airways will cut 50 pilot positions by the end of January as it continues its turnaround efforts.

In a memo to employees, the airline's vice-president of flight operations Sulaiman Yaqoobi says the reduction in headcount follows a cut in capacity, and is part of the airline's plan for a "7 to 10% reduction in our operating cost across its network."

The memo notes that the airline has 2,065 pilots in its ranks, which is a surplus of around 160 due to the reduced flying by the airline.
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He adds that the past year was "extremely challenging", and this is expected to continue into 2019.

"However, while we posted a significant loss at the end of last year, I want to reassure you that we are on the right trajectory and are getting closer to bridging the gap between operating costs and revenue," Yagoobi says.

Etihad reported a $1.52 billion loss for 2017, which was a 22% reduction on the previous year as it started a major transformation initiative.

That saw it cut services to Perth and Edinburgh in 2018, as it changed focus to serving point-to-point markets.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier recently cancelled orders for 10 Airbus A320neos, but has maintained an order for 26 A321neos.


(Aaron Chong - FlightGlobal News)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

American Airlines Boeing 787-9 (40654/720) N836AA

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Positive climb, gear up as this lovely lady climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on a gorgeous SoCal day, January 1, 2019.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 (37179/574) C-FRTW

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 1, 2019.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 (35270/425) C-FPQB

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 9, 2019 still wearing the carriers old livery.

United Airlines Boeing 777-222 (26936/2) N774UA

(Photo by Michael Carter)
 Captured on short final to Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 9, 2019.

This is the second 777-200 built, ex N7772. It took to the skies for the first time on July 15, 1994 and eventually delivered to the carrier on March 29, 1996 with the original reserved registration of N77772 NTU.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Airbus Finalized 2 Big A220 Orders Just Before 2018 Ended

(Airbus)

Back in July, Airbus signed tentative deals to sell a large number of A220s to jetBlue Airways and a proposed U.S. airline start-up led by JetBlue founder David Neeleman. Yet by the end of November, those deals still hadn't been included in Airbus' official order book.

Both orders were firmed up right at the end of 2018. That will boost Airbus' A220 order backlog by more than 30% -- and an even greater percentage, if you exclude existing orders that are likely to be canceled. However, to make the A220 program a financial success, Airbus will need to build on the program's momentum and capture more orders outside of the U.S. market.
 

Finalizing Airbus' first two A220 deals

At the beginning of July 2018, Airbus took over management of Bombardier's struggling CSeries aircraft program and also gained a majority stake in the program. It promptly renamed the CS100 and CS300 the A220-100 and A220-300, respectively.

It didn't take long for Airbus to start landing orders for its new aircraft family. Within a few weeks of the transfer of control, jetBlue announced that it would buy 60 A220-300s, and Moxy Airways (the code name for Neeleman's start-up) also decided to acquire 60 A220-300s.

Last week, Airbus announced that both airlines had firmed up their orders in the final week of December. This adds 120 firm orders to what was a relatively thin backlog of 353 firm orders as of the end of November. It also gets Airbus to at least 600 firm orders across all of its aircraft programs for 2018 as a whole -- excluding any possible cancellations booked last month.
 

New capabilities for new missions

Both jetBlue and Moxy Airways executives have high hopes for the A220. jetBlue says that its A220-300s will be 29% cheaper to operate on a per-seat basis than the Embraer E190s they will replace. The A220-300s also have enough range to operate transcontinental flights -- unlike the E190s -- allowing for higher utilization. An A220-300 could even theoretically fly from Boston to Iceland, Ireland, or Scotland.

Considering all of the benefits of the A220-300, jetBlue expects its fleet replacement campaign to boost its companywide pre-tax margin by about 3 percentage points and increase its pre-tax profit by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Meanwhile, Neeleman believes that the A220's low operating costs and substantial range will allow Moxy to profitably serve a slew of markets that lack nonstop service today. In fact, he has said that his new start-up may not face direct competition on any of its routes. Neeleman is confident that cheap nonstop flights will allow Moxy to quickly become a force in smaller U.S. markets.


Will more sales follow?

These two sizable A220 orders are certainly nice for Airbus to have. However, in order to avoid potential legal action related to government subsidies for the CSeries/A220 program, Airbus has decided to build A220s destined for U.S. airlines at a new facility within the United States.

Between an earlier order from Delta Air Lines and these two orders, the new assembly line's capacity is almost fully booked through 2024 at a production rate of up to four aircraft per month. By contrast, the original Mirabel, Quebec, factory could theoretically build up to 120 A220s annually -- but there are barely more than 200 unfilled orders from customers outside the U.S. Thus, as things stand now, Airbus would be building A220s at low production rates in two separate facilities. That's an inefficient way of doing business.

For the A220 program to reach a respectable level of profitability, Airbus needs to achieve a production rate in Mirabel roughly in line with that factory's capacity. To do so, it would need to secure hundreds of additional firm orders from customers outside the U.S. in the next few years.

The jetBlue and Moxy orders should give potential buyers more confidence that the A220 program has a long-term future. Now Airbus needs to follow through by recruiting new A220 customers so it can fully utilize its existing production capacity in Mirabel.


(Adam Levine-Weinberg - The Motley Fool)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Emirates Airbus A380-861 (c/n 169) A6-EOE

Taxies to it's gate sporting the special "Expo 2020 (Opportunity / Orange) Dubai UAE" livery at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) this afternoon, January 1, 2019.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gulfstream G650(ER) (c/n 6315) N900NC

Blasts out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) from Rwy 25R on December 29, 2018.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Cessna Citation Longitude achieves provisional type certification

Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company, today announced its Cessna Citation Longitude super-midsize jet has achieved provisional type certification (PTC) from the Federal Aviation Administration. The PTC allows operators to begin Citation Longitude flight training in preparation for deliveries early next year and paves the way for the program’s final phase of certification.

“From an unmatched cabin experience to its commanding performance, the Citation Longitude truly sets a new standard for the business aviation industry,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “Our focus remains on equipping our customers with this revolutionary aircraft, and achieving this milestone is a pivotal step as we complete the final phase of the program.”

Activity and interest in the aircraft remains strong as customers experience its capabilities firsthand. Earlier this year, the Citation Longitude completed a world tour, circumnavigating the globe and demonstrating impressive performance figures along the way.

The Longitude flight test program, including functional and reliability testing, is complete. During testing, the aircraft completed more than 1,650 flights and accumulated more than 4,050 hours. Longitude production is also underway in Textron Aviation’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where the jet benefits from cutting-edge assembly methods.

About the Citation Longitude

With a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 kilometers) and full fuel payload of 1,600 pounds (726 kilograms), the Citation Longitude is designed to elevate passenger expectations in the super-midsize class by delivering the quietest cabin, a low cabin altitude (5,950 feet/1,814 meters), more standard features and a comfortable, bespoke interior. With seating for up to 12 passengers, including an optional crew jump seat, the Longitude features a stand-up, 6-foot tall flat-floor cabin. A standard double-club configuration delivers the most legroom in the super-midsize class. Fully berthable seats are designed and manufactured in-house and a class-leading walk-in baggage compartment is accessible throughout the entire flight. State-of-the-art cabin technology enables passengers to manage their environment and entertainment from any mobile device, while high-speed internet maximizes in-flight productivity.

The clean-sheet design of the Longitude integrates the latest technology throughout the aircraft, bringing customers the lowest ownership cost in its class. It features the next evolution of the Garmin G5000 flight deck and is powered by FADEC-equipped Honeywell HTF7700L turbofan engines with fully integrated autothrottles with envelope protection. With Garmin’s new Head-up Display (GHD 2100) and enhanced vision capability, the Longitude facilitates eyes-up flying. The spacious cockpit incorporates easier access and an ergonomic design that fully focuses on crew comfort and efficiency.

No super-midsize business jet offers more range, greater payload or higher cruise speed at a lower expected total ownership cost. The Longitude is designed to feature the longest maintenance intervals in its class – 800 hours or 18 months – expected to make it the most cost effective to operate in its category.


(John Hall - Premier Jet Aviation / JetAv News)

Boeing acquires option on 58-acre Everett property for potential new facility at Paine Field

Boeing and Snohomish County's Paine Field Airport have signed a deal for the company to potentially lease 58 additional acres for its sprawling Everett jet-manufacturing operations.

The option agreement, signed Dec. 11 by county officials and Boeing real estate manager Marc Poulin, says Boeing wants the property for "constructing additional aerospace manufacturing facilities and supporting infrastructure, including a taxi lane" to support existing Everett operations.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes spokesman Paul Bergman said the company acquired the option to support "anticipated capacity requirements for airplane storage and ongoing business needs at the Everett Modification Center and Everett Delivery Center."

Boeing agreed to pay the county $123,374 in 2019 for an exclusive one-year option to lease the extra property on the west side of the airport business park.

The option can be extended a second year for $123,374 more, county records state.

That deal now allows Boeing, at its own cost, to carry out detailed engineering studies on the property, including soil tests and borings, to determine its suitability.

Boeing makes 787 Dreamliners and 747 Freighters at its multi-building Everett manufacturing complex.

It also makes 767 freighters and uses 767 airframes and converts them into military KC-46 aerial refueling tankers at the Everett Modification Center.

This summer, Boeing parked several KC-46 tankers in various stages of completion on Paine Field airport taxiways, including some without engines. Months later, the U.S. Air Force still hasn't accepted its first KC-46 tanker for delivery.

Boeing also needed extra space to park 737s earlier this year in Renton after suppliers were late with fuselage and engine deliveries. But last week Boeing released data showing the company has started to recover from those challenges.

Boeing also is weighing plans to build a New Mid-Market Airplane, which some have called the 797, and expects to decide to go ahead with the new jet or not in 2019.

Washington state is working to persuade Boeing to build the proposed new wide-body jet here.

Bergman noted Boeing's long-standing relationship with the Snohomish County airport for airplane manufacturing and pre-delivery activities at the Everett site.

"We are committed to real estate solutions that benefit both the company and the surrounding community and that support the continued Boeing investment in Everett," Bergman said in an email.

Snohomish County records state if Boeing executes its option and signs a long-term property lease, it would generate $1.23 million per year in rent revenue for the Paine Field Airport Fund.

The Everett Herald first reported Boeing's lease option agreement on Monday.
 

(Andrew McIntosh - Puget Sound Business Journal)

Boeing Gets Another $11.7 Billion in 737 MAX Orders

One hundred orders for the 737 MAX

Within just a week, Boeing has received another major order for its 737 MAX series aircraft from an African airline company. The airplane manufacturer announced yesterday that Green Africa Airways had ordered 100 planes, which were valued at a list price of $11.7 billion. The commitment was evenly split into 50 firm aircraft and 50 options.

As per the company, the latest deal is the largest aircraft agreement from an African nation. According to Boeing’s recently updated 20-year commercial market outlook, the African continent will need 1,190 new planes over the next 20 years.
The recent order came within a month of Caribbean Airlines ordering 12 similar planes on November 21. Though the details of the list price and delivery remain unclear, the first plane is likely to be delivered by the end of next year.

Just a day earlier, on November 20, South Korean airline Jeju Air ordered 40 737 MAX airplanes with options for ten additional jets. The transaction is valued at ~$5.9 billion at list prices, and the company has to deliver the aircraft between 2022 and 2026.


The 737 Max: Boeing’s fastest-selling plane

The 737 MAX is one of the major contributors to Boeing’s revenue growth. The 737 MAX model is Boeing’s most advanced aircraft in the single-aisle category. It provides superior economy and fuel efficiency. The single-aisle models come with a capacity of more than 90 seats.

The 737 MAX model is Boeing’s fastest-selling plane in history. Boeing has received a cumulative more than 4,800 orders from 100 customers worldwide for this model. Major US air carriers American Airlines and United Continental have placed orders for 100 planes each, while Southwest Airlines has placed an order for 280 planes.
 

Record results

Boeing reported its third-quarter earnings results on October 24. The company posted a 4% YoY (year-over-year) revenue rise to $25.1 billion in the quarter. Its core EPS rose 37% YoY to $3.58, higher than analysts’ consensus estimates of revenue of $23.91 billion and EPS of $3.47.


Strong growth in the company’s Defense segment’s revenue seems to have fueled its revenue growth. The segment’s revenue rose 13% YoY to $5.7 million in the quarter. The Defense segment’s orders have been on the rise recently given the boost in US defense spending.

The Commercial Airplanes segment, on the other hand, recorded a 1% YoY revenue fall to $15.3 billion as a result of Boeing’s aircraft deliveries falling 6% YoY to ~190 aircraft compared to the 202 aircraft it delivered in the third quarter of 2017. Boeing’s slowing deliveries are a known factor given the many supplier issues it faces.
 

Raised guidance

Boeing’s investors have reason to celebrate, as the company has again raised its 2018 revenue and earnings guidance. The company now expects to clock revenue in the range of $98 billion–$100 billion, $1 billion higher than its previous estimates, fueled by the performance of its Defense segment. It expects to clock core EPS in the range of $14.90–$15.10 compared to its earlier guidance of $14.30–$14.50. It has maintained its operating cash flow guidance at $15.0 billion–$15.5 billion.
 

Stock rises Investors should keep a close eye on the stock. Despite persistent supplier issues, Boeing has maintained its commercial airplane delivery target at 810 for the year, a big jump from the 568 it delivered as of the third quarter.

(Andrew Brunton - Market Realist)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Boeing wins deals for 15 planes from Caribbean and Turkish airlines for 777 and 737 Max jets

Boeing said it won two deals for a total of 15 new airplanes worth $2.5 billion, bolstering work for its Puget Sound region jet factories.

The Chicago-based jet maker said Turkish Airlines ordered three new 777 Freighters, while Caribbean Airlines has picked Boeing's 737 Max 8 single aisle jet to replace its aging fleet of 12 older model 737s.

The freighter deal with Turkish is valued at just over $1 billion at list prices, though the carrier is a big Boeing customer and likely gets discounts of up to 50 percent. It ordered three 777 Freighters just a year ago.

"The additional aircraft will provide us more flexibility to serve even more destinations as we continue to grow our global freight network," Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board İlker Aycı said in a Boeing news release.

Neither company said when the jets will be delivered, but the order helps Boeing fill out the Everett 777 manufacturing line as the jet maker transitions to building the new advanced 777X jet.

Turkish Airline's Boeing jet fleet has grown to more than 160 aircraft, with nearly 100 additional jets on order. Turkish Airlines operates more than 30 777s, putting it among the top 10 operators of the wide-body jet in Europe and the Middle East.

As part of the deal, Boeing said it's planning to open an engineering center in Istanbul, specializing in research and supporting Turkey's aerospace sector.

As well, Turkish Technic, the maintenance arm of Turkish Airlines, becomes a strategic supplier for Boeing's Global Fleet Care program.

The program provides airlines with maintenance, component service and repair for multiple jet models. Boeing and Turkish Technic will also partner to train and certify aircraft technicians.

Boeing declined to say whether its deal with Trinidad and Tobago' carrier Caribbean Airlines was a firm order or merely a commitment for future orders.

A deal for 12 737 Max 8 jets is worth $1.4 billion at list prices. Boeing and Caribbean said in a statement the airline "plans to take delivery of 12 aircraft in the coming years."

A selection ceremony was attended by Boeing executives and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

Press reports in Trinidad and Tobago said deliveries are to begin the fourth quarter of 2019.


(Andrew McIntosh - Puget Sound Business Journal)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Cayman Airways Boeing 737-8Max (68309/7256) VP-CIW

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

The first 737-8MAX destined for Cayman Airways, is captured departing Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI/KBFI) on a pre-delivery test flight to Grant County International Airport (MWH/KMWH), Moses Lake today (November 24, 2018). 


The aircraft had been scheduled for her post paint flight on Wednesday November 21 but the flight was cancelled due to bad weather.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

El Al Boeing 787-9 (42117/616) 4X-EDB "Rishon"

Captured under-tow at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on November 13, 2018 sporting "70th Anniversary" markings just behind the cockpit windows.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

LaudaMotion receives first of two A320s from SMBC

(SMBC)

LaudaMotion has received the first of two Airbus A320s leased from SMBC Aviation Capital as part of the Ryanair subsidiary’s growth plans.

The Austria-based LCC took delivery of the first A320, a former Turkish Airlines aircraft, this week, with the second one set to arrive in January 2019.

Irish LCC Ryanair, which acquired a 75% stake in the airline founded by Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, plans to grow the LaudaMotion fleet to 19 aircraft by summer 2019.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told ATW earlier this year the company must invest more money in LaudaMotion because the airline will lose approximately €150 million ($175 million) in its first “very difficult” year, up from a previous estimate of €100 million. The carrier should break even in 2019, however, and turn a profit in 2020, he said.

LaudaMotion and Lufthansa confirmed Oct. 9 that the companies have agreed that LaudaMotion will redeliver nine aircraft to Lufthansa between Dec. 31, 2018, and June 30, 2019, ending a leasing dispute that escalated in July.


(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Airbus names new CFO, commercial COO

Airbus CFO Dominik Asam
(Airbus)

Airbus’ management transition continued Nov. 21 with the appointments of Dominik Asam as CFO and Michael Schoellhorn as COO of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Both will also be members of the Airbus executive committee.

The appointments are for two of the last three key management positions that had yet to be filled as part of the manufacturer’s ongoing leadership reshuffle. Asam will replace Harald Wilhelm, who is leaving in April 2019. Schoellhorn follows Tom Williams, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Airbus is in the middle of a broad leadership transition. CEO Tom Enders will step down in April 2019 to be succeeded by Guillaume Faury, currently president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. His predecessor, Fabrice Bregier, left in April after the board decided not to select him as new CEO. Former CCO John Leahy retired in February, and his successor, Eric Schulz, left in October. He was replaced by former ATR CEO Christian Scherer. EVP-Airbus Commercial Aircraft Didier Evrard is to retire soon.


Michael Schoellhorn’s appointment as COO of commercial aircraft (left) is an apparent indication that Faury does not plan to backfill his position as president of the unit when he becomes the group’s CEO. Appointing a COO would otherwise likely have had to wait until a new president was found. Schoellhorn will report directly to Faury.

In the fine-tuned balance of core nationalities in top management, Schoellhorn’s appointment, along with the naming of Asam as CFO, compensates the German side inside Airbus for the loss of the CEO position to a French national. Such balancing acts have officially been declared things of the past that have no influence on company decisions. However, keeping French and German control roughly equal is still an important informal factor. Faury has long experience working and living in Germany and speaks fluent German. Also of note as the UK prepares to leave the European Union is that Schoellhorn replaces Williams, the highest-ranking British executive.

Airbus chairman Denis Ranque earlier made clear that he will not seek re-election at the 2020 annual general assembly. Rene Obermann, the former CEO of Deutsche Telekom and an Airbus board member, is widely considered to be the top candidate for the position.

Asam joins Airbus from Infineon Technologies, where he has been CFO since 2011. He holds an MBA from INSEAD and a degree in mechanical engineering from the École Centrale Paris.

Schoellhorn has been COO of BSH Home Appliances since 2015. He served in the German armed forces as a helicopter pilot from 1984 to 1994.


(Jens Flottau - ATWOnline News)

AirAsia X widens net loss in 3Q on higher fuel, operating costs

AirAsia X Group, the long-haul arm of LCC AirAsia, recorded a net loss of MYR197.5 million ($47.7 million), deepened from MYR43.4 million loss in the year-ago quarter, as operating costs continue to increase. The carrier had reported MYR99.3 million loss in the previous quarter.

The airline cited rising fuel costs as the main contributor to rising operating costs, saying the average fuel price per barrel rose from $65 in 3Q17 to $91.

Cost, measured as cost per available seat kilometer (CASK), increased 12% year-over-year (YOY). In addition, doubtful debts provided for subsidiary AirAsia X Indonesia contributed to the negative quarterly performance.

Third-quarter revenue fell 4% YOY to MYR1 billion from MYR1.1 billion because of a 5% drop in average base fare as part of a plan to increase capacity on established routes and introduce new ones.

ASKs decreased 4% YOY after capacity was redeployed to the North Asia region. Revenue per ASK (RASK) dipped 1% YOY, but was up 4% compared to the previous quarter because of improvements in China routes.

“Our average fares have increased by 13% from 2Q18 and we expect to reap further rewards once these routes mature,” AirAsia X Group CEO Nadda Buranasiri said. “While we expect that the provision of doubtful debts will place short-term pressures on the full-year earnings, we remain confident on the ongoing efforts to boost our ancillary revenue, passenger growth and yields in the longer term.”

He said the company is studying the sustainability of AirAsia X Indonesia, which will cease its last scheduled service from Bali to Tokyo-Narita in January 2019 and operate as a non-scheduled airline.

As part of cost-cutting measures, Buranasiri said the group is in advanced negotiations with aircraft lessors to lower lease rates and business partners to reduce ground handling rates at its foreign stations.


(Chen Chuanren - ATWOnline News)

Italian railway company waits for decision on Alitalia offer

Alitalia Boeing 777-243(ER) (32858/425) I-DISU "Alberto Nassetti" on short final to Rwy 24R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on October 24, 2017.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Italian rail company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) appears to be in pole position to acquire bankrupt Alitalia and is in talks with a number of airlines that could partner with it to run the carrier if its bid is successful.

Italian news agency ANSA, citing FS CEO Gianfranco Battisti, reported that UK-based LCC easyJet is among the airlines with which FS is having talks.

Alitalia received two binding bids, including the FS bid, and one expression of interest by the Oct. 31 sale deadline, the latest step in the long search for a partner to help the Italian flag carrier relaunch, which has dragged on since it filed for bankruptcy in May 2017.

Battisti said Nov. 20 that FS was waiting for a response from Italy’s economic development ministry on whether its offer had been accepted. “We are waiting for the conditions to be made official, after which we’ll get started on the project,” Battisti said.

FS emerged as the frontrunner to revive Alitalia as part of an integrated transport company, which is also aimed at boosting Italian tourism, after Italy’s coalition government said it wanted to keep the carrier at least partly in Italian hands. Alitalia unions are also pressing for the airline to be owned by an Italian company, but FS would need airline management expertise.

ANSA also reported Nov. 21 that FS had received a letter from the special commissioners who have been steering Alitalia through the long-running sale process since it entered into administration, which stated that its bid had been judged positively.

EasyJet has previously confirmed it submitted an expression of interest in Alitalia while Lufthansa has said it will not invest in Alitalia together with the Italian government or a state-owned Italian company, but could imagine a commercial partnership with the airline.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, a fellow SkyTeam partner with Alitalia, is also thought to be one of the interested parties.

Alitalia also confirmed Nov. 20 that one of its special commissioners had resigned. Luigi Gubitosi has been named CEO of Telecom Italia.


(Helen Massy-Beresford - ATWOneline News)

Boeing to brief 737 MAX customers next week

Boeing will hold a set of regional meetings and conference calls next week with 737 MAX customers to address their questions and concerns about a new system that was introduced on the re-engined narrow-body.

Boeing originally planned to hold a single conference call, but that was canceled, and the manufacturer is instead going to brief airlines on a regional basis early in the week of Nov. 27.

Boeing confirmed to ATW that it had rescheduled the 737/NG MAX fleetwide operator calls “to allow for more attendance, more time for Q&A and to accommodate different time zones.”

A spokesperson added that the meetings would be hosted by Boeing field service representatives.

“Safety is a core value at Boeing, and always will be. We have complete confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. Boeing is in constant communication with regulators and our customers,” the company said.

Boeing is under increasing pressure to clarify a feature that was introduced on the MAX family of aircraft called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS). The system can automatically change pitch in manual flight mode and is designed to help mitigate flight-control issues that the model's new heavier, larger engines and related design changes introduced. MCAS relies on certain parameters to determine when it is needed and is meant to work in the background. But Boeing says it recently learned that erroneous data from one sensor—such as an angle-of-attack indicator—can cause MCAS to move the stabilizer and push the aircraft’s nose down when it is not needed.

A Boeing bulletin on the system linked the issue to the investigation into the Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air flight JT610, a MAX 8, though the bulletin did not say MCAS played any role in the accident sequence. Boeing’s bulletins and information on MCAS emerged after the crash.

Since the crash, in which all 189 people onboard were killed after the aircraft dived suddenly into the sea soon after takeoff, there has been growing scrutiny of the MAX and how much information on MCAS was given—and when—to operators and pilots. The pilot unions of some major airlines that operate the MAX, including American Airlines, say they were not informed about the system.

Boeing CEO and president Dennis Muilenburg, in an internal memo to employees, denied that aircraft functionality information was intentionally withheld from customers.

Boeing’s share price fell sharply this week, reaching a one-year low Nov. 20, although it rebounded a little Nov. 21.


(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)