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Boeing hiring, eyes 737 MAX flights resuming ‘early 4th quarter’

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Boeing hiring, eyes 737 MAX flights resuming ‘early 4th quarter’

 

 

Boeing Co said on Tuesday it plans to add extra staff and hire “a few hundred” temporary employees at an airport in Washington state where it is storing many grounded 737 MAX jetliners, a key step in its best-case plan for resuming deliveries to airline customers in October.
The world’s largest planemaker, burning cash as one of the worst crises in its history stretches into a sixth month, said the workers will assist with aircraft maintenance and customer delivery preparations at Grant County International Airport.
The hiring plans are the first publicly detailed steps Boeing will take as it works to deliver hundreds of grounded 737 MAX jets to airlines globally, an undertaking that would amount to one of the biggest logistical operations in modern civil aviation.
Chicago-based Boeing has been unable to deliver any 737 MAX aircraft since the single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, cutting off a key source of cash and hitting margins.
Global airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights and use spare aircraft to cover routes that were previously flown with the fuel-efficient MAX, eating into their profitability. Many carriers have taken the MAX off their schedules late into the fall or early 2020.
Boeing reiterated on Tuesday that it was working toward getting the 737 MAX flying again commercially in the “early fourth quarter” after it wins approval of reprogrammed software for the stall-prevention system at the center of both crashes.
In late July, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell declined to be pinned down on Boeing’s previously stated target of October for entry into service.
“We don’t have a timeline,” Elwell said. “We have one criteria. When the 737 MAX has been – when the complications to it have been satisfactorily assessed, and the MAX is safe to return to service, that’s the only criteria.”
Boeing said it plans to move all the aircraft from Moses Lake, an eastern Washington location where it runs test flights, to facilities in the Seattle and Everett areas where its factories are located.
Hundreds of Boeing 737 MAX jets remain grounded worldwide, and Boeing has continued building the jets at a rate of 42 per month in the Seattle area. The U.S. planemaker is also storing freshly built aircraft outside its factories in Renton and Everett, around Seattle. It also has jets parked at a facility in San Antonio, Texas.
The total cost so far of the 737 MAX crisis is more than $8 billion, mainly due to compensation the planemaker will have to pay airlines for the delayed deliveries and lower production, reports Reuters.

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Aviation

SAfrican Airways workers to go on strike Friday

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SAfrican Airways workers to go on strike Friday

Cabin crew and other workers at South African Airways (SAA) will go on strike on Friday over the struggling state airline’s plan to cut more than 900 jobs, unions said on Wednesday.

“We are left with no choice but to resort to this drastic action by withdrawing our labour and going on strike,” Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam, president of the South African Cabin Crew Association, told a joint press briefing with the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), reports Reuters.

The strike would continue indefinitely, the unions said.

SAA said on Tuesday it could cut more than 900 jobs as it restructures to stem severe financial losses.

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South African Airways may cut more than 900 jobs

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South African Airways may cut more than 900 jobs

South Africa’s struggling state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) could cut more than 900 jobs as it restructures to stem severe financial losses, the airline said in a statement.

SAA said it had started consultations with its more than 5,000 staff and was talking to labour unions.

The airline has not made an annual profit since 2011 and is grappling with severe funding difficulties and an inefficient and ageing fleet of airplanes, reports Reuters.

South African officials have been searching for an investor to take a stake in the airline, but their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

“We urgently need to address the ongoing loss-making position that has subsisted over the past years. That is why we are undergoing a restructuring,” said SAA acting-Chief Executive Zuks Ramasia.

“No final decision will be taken until the consultation process is concluded. However, it is estimated that approximately 944 employees may be affected.”

In a dramatic fall from grace over the past decade, SAA has lost its place as Africa’s biggest airline and a symbol of patriotic pride to become a source of frustration for taxpayers.

Analysts have long said its workforce should be cut to bring it in line with regional competitors.

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Boeing: 737 MAX should resume commercial flights in Jan; shares jump

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Boeing: 737 MAX should resume commercial flights in Jan; shares jump

Boeing Co on Monday said it expected U.S. regulators to approve the return to commercial service of its grounded 737 MAX jet in the coming weeks, and its shares jumped as investors grew more hopeful the planemaker had addressed software problems at the heart of two fatal crashes.

Boeing said it expected the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an order approving the plane’s return to service next month, but added it now expected commercial service to resume in January. Boeing shares rose 5% on the company’s outlook.

As recently as last week, Boeing said it expected flights could resume by the end of December. On Monday, the company said it was possible that resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December but said getting approval for training changes would take more time, reports Reuters.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines said Friday they were pushing back resumption of 737 MAX flights until early March. Major airlines have said they will need at least a month to complete training and install revised software before flights can resume.

“We expect the Max to be certified, airworthiness directive issued, ungrounded in mid-December. We expect pilot training requirements to be approved in January,” said Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

He added that “our airline customers will need more time to return their fleets to service and to train all 737 pilots, therefore they have announced schedule updates into March.”

The FAA reiterated that the agency has “set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.”

Last week, Reuters reported that U.S. and European regulators had not been able to complete a software documentation audit because of significant gaps and substandard documents. The FAA must complete that audit before a key certification test flight can be scheduled.

“We are taking the time to answer all of their questions,” Boeing said Monday. “We’re providing detailed documentation, had them fly in the simulators, and helped them understand our logic and the design for the new procedures, software and proposed training material to ensure that they are completely satisfied as to the airplane’s safety.”

Boeing also said it has completed one of five milestones needed: a multi-day eCab simulator evaluation with the FAA to ensure the software system performs as intended even if there is a system failure.

On Friday, the FAA told U.S. lawmakers a preliminary review by a blue-ribbon panel found Boeing’s design changes to a key safety system to be safe and compliant with regulations.

The next step will be a multi-day simulator session with airline pilots from the around the world.

The FAA said previously it will need 30 days from the time of the certification flight before it could unground the plane and flights could resume.

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Bird strike resurgence poses challenge to airline operators

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Bird strike resurgence poses challenge to airline operators

…spurs over N5bn loss annually

 

The resurgence of bird strikes in Nigerian aviation industry and its economic losses to airlines, which is put at approximately N5billion annually, has become a source of worry to operators.

Although bird strike is a global phenomenon, many factors such as the nation’s carelessness to the environment culminating in over grown bushes and other untidy behaviours around the aerodromes are escalating the activities of birds and animals around airport areas.

A bird strike is a collision between an airborne animal, usually a bird or bat and a manmade vehicle, usually an aircraft. The term is also used for bird deaths resulting from collisions with structures such as power lines, towers and wind turbines.

Bird strikes are a significant threat to flight safety, and have caused a number of accidents with human casualties. There are over 13,000 bird strikes annually in the US alone.

However, the number of major accidents involving civil aircraft is quite low and it has been estimated that there is only about 1 accident resulting in human death in one billion (109) flying hours.

The majority of bird strikes (65%) cause little damage to the aircraft; however the collision is usually fatal to the bird(s) involved.

In monetary terms, it is estimated that about $1.2 billion per annum is lost to bird strike by the global aviation industry. In the United States of America about $650 million is lost annually as a result of bird strike.

Bird strike incidents usually affect the engines of aircraft, which cost about $1.5 million (N547.5 million) to replace, depending on the type and capacity of the aircraft involved in the incident. This is apart from the cost of shipping the engine into the country.

Nigerian airlines experience at least 12 bird strike incidents annually, our correspondent gathered. He reported that in the past 24 months, there has been no fewer than 28 bird strike incidents recorded across the country’s airports.

Statistics of the incidents obtained by New Telegraph indicates that the airlines encountered 14 bird strikes during take-offs and another 13 on landings, with half of the incidents happening at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Virtually all domestic airlines have experienced one form of damage to their engines or nose wheel. Ethiopian Airline landing gear was hit by a massive bird last week Thursday but caused just minimal damage.

In the past two months, at least two Nigerian carriers experienced major bird strike incidents that severely damaged the aircraft’s engines, costing the airlines and their insurers millions of dollars to replace the engines.

Air Peace is the hardest hit as many of its airplane engines had been damaged, Arik, Aero, Dana, Azman and others are becoming almost a monthly occurrence.

Spokeswoman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told our correspondent that the agency was looking at making sure it eradicate or reduce this threat of bird ingestion to aircraft or animal incursion into the runway and so the need to disperse the discovered roost before it became worst.

Being a pilot and a frequent flyer along the MMA axis, she disclosed that the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, like other pilots, have been aware of the roost for some time as they see it when they take off or land due to the fact that the habitat is directly under approach flight path of aircraft that are inbound runway 18L Murtala Muhammad Airport.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, attributed high incidence of bird/wildlife strikes in to the attraction of many species of wildlife to the airports due to the presence of thick bushes, waste dumps and farmlands around the airports.

He called for adequate funding of the airports by the acquisition of modern safety equipment in the airports, stressing that this will also allow adequate maintenance of vehicles, proper habitat management, adequate fencing and regular training and retraining of bird/wildlife hazard control officers.

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NCAA notifies pilots, operators of new format for birds, wildlife strike reporting

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NCAA notifies pilots, operators of new format for birds, wildlife strike reporting

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has notified pilots, airports and Airline Operators as well as Aircraft Engineers of a change in birds and wildlife strike reporting format.

Mr Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, made the announcement in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos.

Adurogboye said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had evolved a new format for birds and wildfire strike reporting.

According to him, the European Coordinating Centre for Accidents and Incidents Reporting System (ECCAIRS) Excel-based format will now be used for ICAO Bird strike Information System (IBIS) reporting.

He said the notification was contained in an advisory circular with reference NCAA/AAS/BHC/04/006/11/132 dated July 30 to all airports/airline operators, pilots and aircraft engineers.

Adurogboye said the notification was signed by the Director, Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Mr T. A. Odunowo on behalf of the Director General of NCAA.

He said it was mandatory for them to forward to NCAA, Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), using the attached IBIS-ECCAIRS form for all Bird and Wildlife strikes at their Aerodromes on or before 30 days of occurrence for the submission.

Adurogboye said this was in accordance with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) 2015, Part 12.6.23.2 and Aerodrome Standards Manual (ASM), Section 13.2.4.2.

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Aviation

Lufthansa cancels 1,300 flights over strike

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Lufthansa said Wednesday it was scrapping 1,300 flights as German cabin crew pressed ahead with a two-day strike, plunging passengers into travel chaos amid an escalating row over pay and conditions.

“As a result of the strike, around 180,000 passengers will be affected by 1,300 flight cancellations,” the airline said in a statement after losing a last-minute court battle to halt the walkout.

The 48-hour stoppage called by the UFO flight attendants’ union is due to start at 2300 GMT on Wednesday and last until 2300 GMT on Friday.

The union said the stoppage would affect all Lufthansa departures in Germany during that time.

Germany’s largest airline said it “regrets the inconvenience for the passengers”.

The carrier was putting together an alternative flight schedule where possible, it said, adding that affected passengers could rebook their journeys for free or swap their domestic flights for train tickets.

The announcement of 700 flight cancellations on Thursday and roughly 600 on Friday come after a Frankfurt labour court denied Lufthansa’s request for an injunction to block the strike.

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Aviation

Pilot gets life ban after woman’s cockpit photo

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Pilot gets life ban after woman’s cockpit photo

A Chinese pilot has been banned from flying after a photo went viral showing a female passenger in the cockpit.

The photo was taken in January on an Air Guilin flight from Guilin city to Yangzhou city, state media said, but was widely shared this week – causing the airline to take action.

It shows a woman posing in the cockpit with refreshments laid out next to her, reports the BBC.

Air Guilin said in a statement the pilot had violated air safety regulations.

The incident took place on January 4 on flight GT1011 from Guilin city to Yangzhou city, according to state media outlet ‘The Global Times’.

But it was brought to the airline’s attention on Sunday after screenshots of the alleged passenger’s post started being shared widely on micro-blogging site Weibo.

The post showed the woman making a V sign with her fingers – a popular pose in China – with the photo captioned: “Thanks to the captain. So happy.”

The woman is rumoured to be a flight attendant in training at a Guilin university, according to news site ‘Chinese News Service’.

Air Guilin did not specify if the photo was taken mid-flight, but Chinese pilots and analysts said the photo appears to have been taken during the flight.

The pilot, who was not named, has been banned from flying for life, though it is unclear if he was fired from all roles by the airline.

Air Guilin said in a statement that he had “violated [regulations] by allowing irrelevant personnel into the cockpit”.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, passengers are not allowed to enter the cockpit without special approval or under “necessary” circumstances.

Other staff members involved in the incident have also been “suspended indefinitely” while further investigations are held.

“Passengers’ safety is always Air Guilin’s priority. We take a zero-tolerance approach against any inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour that might risk the aviation safety,” the Chinese carrier said.

Last year, Chinese carrier Donghai Airlines suspended a pilot for six months and revoked his qualifications as a flight instructor after he allowed his wife to go inside the cockpit.

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Aviation

Plane makes emergency landing on beach

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Plane makes emergency landing on beach

A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a Long Island beach Monday after experiencing engine problems, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The single-engine Cessna 150L touched down about 2:20 p.m. at Point Lookout in Hempstead — about nine miles east of John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

Two people were on board the craft. There were no reports of any injuries, reports New York Post.

The plane had taken off from Stevensville airport in Maryland and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip when it was forced to land, records show.

According to FAA records the plane is registered in Ronkonkoma.

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Aviation

Plane makes emergency landing on beach

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Plane makes emergency landing on beach

A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a Long Island beach Monday after experiencing engine problems, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The single-engine Cessna 150L touched down about 2:20 p.m. at Point Lookout in Hempstead — about nine miles east of John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

Two people were on board the craft. There were no reports of any injuries, reports New York Post.

The plane had taken off from Stevensville airport in Maryland and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip when it was forced to land, records show.

According to FAA records the plane is registered in Ronkonkoma.

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Aviation

Qantas, Southwest stepping up checks for cracks in 737 NG aircraft after issues found

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Qantas, Southwest stepping up checks for cracks in 737 NG aircraft after issues found

Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) and Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) are stepping up checks for structural cracks on Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 NGs after discovering problems with planes that did not require urgent inspections, airline sources said.

The cracks are on what is known as the “pickle fork” – a part that attaches the plane’s fuselage, or body, to the wing structure.

Repairing the cracks requires grounding the airplane, with remedial work costing an estimated $275,000 per aircraft, according to aviation consultancy IBA.

Boeing on October 11 said 38 planes worldwide had been grounded after urgent checks but has not provided a further update. The issue surfaced while the newer 737 MAX model is grounded globally following two deadly crashes, reports Reuters.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on October 2 mandated checks of 737 NGs with more than 30,000 take-off and landing cycles within seven days.

It said jets with 22,600 to 29,999 cycles must be inspected within 1,000 cycles, which typically correspond to the number of flights.

Qantas discovered cracks in a plane with about 26,700 cycles that was undergoing heavy maintenance, while Southwest found cracks in one with about 28,500 cycles, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline had found cracking in one jet with just under 27,000 cycles that had been removed from service for repair.

He said that no Qantas jets had yet reached 30,000 cycles, but that the airline would inspect 33 planes with more than 22,600 cycles by the end of this week.

A Southwest spokesman said he could not confirm the number of cycles of the three jets the airline has pulled from service for pickle fork repairs. He said the company has complied with the FAA directive on inspections but was expanding checks to its entire 737 NG fleet.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Boeing said all 737 NGs with more than 30,000 flight cycles and about one-third of planes with over 22,600 flight cycles had been inspected for pickle fork cracks.

The manufacturer said additional assessments were underway to determine the cause and potential implications for planes with fewer than 22,600 cycles.

“Depending on the results of these assessments, additional inspections or repairs may be required,” Boeing said.

It said that so far the repair costs were not big enough to affect its bottom line. But the company added that it could not estimate potential future financial impacts because since the inspections were ongoing.

A Boeing spokesman on Wednesday said he could not provide a further update.

American Airlines and United Airlines, whose 737 NG fleets have less than 30,000 cycles, are also inspecting their entire fleets but have not found any pickle fork issues so far, representatives for both airlines said.

Virgin Australia said it had already inspected all 19 of its 737 NGs with more than 22,600 cycles and did not find any cracks.

South Korea’s transport ministry said all nine 737 NGs grounded in the country with cracks had more than 30,000 cycles.

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