US, Canada ground 737 Max jets, Boeing shares fall again

Andrew Cummings
March 14, 2019

In a statement Wednesday, Southwest downplayed the effects of the grounding, noting its 34 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the most of any US airline, account for fewer than 5 percent of the airline's fleet. As the European Union imposed its grounding, a number of 737 MAX aircraft were forced to turn around in flight because they were no longer considered airworthy at their destinations.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, said "it has become abundantly clear to us that not only should the 737 MAX be grounded but also that there must be a rigorous investigation into why the aircraft, which has critical safety systems that did not exist on prior models, was certified without requiring additional pilot training". Begashaw confirmed Wednesday the black box that contains the records will be sent to Europe for analysis. Authorities in France and Britain said they had not been approached yet.

A spokesperson for WestJet would not answer a question about whether any of its Max 737 planes had experienced mechanical issues.

Boeing has almost 5,000 more on order.

Boeing says it will soon issue a software upgrade for the 737 MAX 8, presumably in response to its own investigation of the Lion Air crash.

The Company would be materially adversely affected in the event of a mechanical or regulatory issue associated with the Boeing 737 aircraft type, whether as a result of downtime for part or all of the Company's fleet, increased maintenance costs, or because of a negative perception by the flying public. The company's shares reacted by tumbling nearly 10 points, or 2.5 percent. The shares have fallen about 13 per cent since the crash, losing more than US$25 billion of market value.

Ryder explained the airlines may try to cut the number of flights on some routes and replace the Max 8 jetliners with larger planes. The FAA also said it had found no reason to ground the planes.

It comes after two fatal accidents overseas involving the aircraft.

Workers set up tents decorated with white roses.

Only charred fragments of victims remain, meaning it will take weeks to identify all of them using dental or DNA testing.

The victims came from more than 30 nations, and included almost two dozen U.N. staff.

The move left the United States as the only major country where the planes continued to operate.

New Zealand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Lebanon joined the groundings on Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said fresh evidence as well as newly refined satellite data prompted the decision to temporarily ban the jets.

By banning Max 8 and 9 models of the aircraft from flying in the United States, the FAA has thrown a major logistical challenge at American and Southwest Airlines, which are the two biggest users of the plane.

In the spring, before the busy summer travel season begins, airlines generally have more slack in their fleets, making it easier to schedule spare aircraft to replace Max jets.

It is unclear why the plane, bound for Kenyan capital Nairobi, nosedived or whether the incident is related to last October's Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash in Indonesia, which left 189 dead. The shutdown of non-essential operations at the FAA caused work on the fix to be suspended for five weeks, according to unnamed U.S. officials cited by the Wall Street Journal.

CNN have reported that US-based 737 Max pilots have filed complaints about the performance of MCAS in flight, including reports of the system operating while autopilot is switched on, which should not occur.

The president said that the USA worked in conjunction with Canada to make the decision to ground the planes.

Other reports by iNewsToday