Boeing Suspends Deliveries of 737 Max Jets

Darnell Taylor
March 15, 2019

A software fix for the 737 Max that Boeing has been working on since the Lion Air crash will take months to complete, the FAA said on Wednesday.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed Sunday killing 157 people, shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.

On Wednesday, Ethiopian's CEO hinted in an interview that the black box was due to be taken to Europe for analysis given that Ethiopia lacked that expertise.

Ethiopian Airlines said earlier it would send the two cockpit voice and data recorders overseas for analysis.

Eyewitnesses say they saw a trail of smoke, sparks and debris as the plane nosedived.

At a minimum, aviation experts say, the plane maker will need to finish updating software that might have played a role in the Lion Air crash.

And in what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Officials at Lion Air have said sensors on their plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome on its final voyage.

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With rates below 80 percent, the country lags far behind the World Health Organization's 95 percent target. Italian media report that regional authorities are handling the situation in a number of different ways.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order to ground the jets on Wednesday saying it made the decision based on "newly refined satellite data" and 'new evidence collected at the site and analyzed'.

Industry sources said Boeing was planning to make use of every inch of available space at Renton while exploring other options such as the nearby King County International Airport, unofficially called Boeing Field.

The cause of the Lion Air crash is still being investigated.

Following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, many countries, including Russian Federation, the United States and European Union members, grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for safety reasons.

Neither Ethiopian Airlines or Boeing 737-800 MAX is flying to Liberia. Its stock is down about 11 percent since the crash, wiping more than $26 billion off its market value.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a review had showed "no systemic performance issues" and that there was no basis for grounding the aircraft.

Questions about the Lion Air crash have honed in on an automated stall prevention system, the MCAS, created to automatically point the plane's nose downwards if it is in danger of stalling.

The Ethiopian Airlines pilots reported similar difficulties before their aircraft plunged to the ground as they tried to return to the airport. "Our team will work with all customers impacted by these flight cancellations in order to rebook them to their final destination".

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