Category: Boeing

How Airlines Are Defending Dormant 737 MAX Jets From The Ravages Of Corrosion, Insects And Time

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Aug 12, 2019

Jeremy Bogaisky Forbes Staff Aerospace & Defense Deputy editor for Industry; eyes on the skies

Southwest Parks Grounded Boeing 737 MAX Planes At Remote California Airport
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Southern California Logistics Airport.GETTY IMAGES

Boeing 737 MAX planes have been stuck on the ground now for five months. With the likelihood rising that they won’t return to service before the winter, some airlines may soon have to deal with the danger that the planes could literally become stuck to the ground. 

Tires of planes that are parked for long periods of time can freeze to the tarmac during subzero weather, warns a Boeing maintenance manual for the previous generation of 737 aircraft. It advises maintenance workers to place sand or a coarse fiber mat under the tires and covers over the wheels and brake assemblies to protect them from the corrosive effects of rain and snow.

With the end of summer drawing closer, Air Canada is considering moving its 24 737 MAX planes south to the gentler climes of a desert storage yard, a spokesperson told Forbes. WestJet says it’s content to keep its 13 planes in Canada, spooling up the engines every week and taking them for a spin on the apron around their hangars.

Airlines have had 387 MAX planes sitting quietly at airports and storage facilities around the world since March, when the second of two horrific crashes led aviation authorities worldwide to ground Boeing’s best-selling plane. Boeing is storing roughly another 200 that it has assembled but can’t deliver. 

Planes are built to move. Making sure these aren’t damaged from their prolonged grounding has become the mission of a small army of maintenance staff. The longer the planes’ wings are clipped, the more needs to be done. Among the main tools, as prescribed by the 737 manual: copious amounts of yellow 3M vinyl tape No. 471 to seal off gaps and sensors, and an array of lubricants.

Southwest Airlines, the largest operator of the 737 MAX, is storing its fleet of 34 planes in the dry heat of the high Mojave desert at an airfield in Victorville, California. Once a week, maintenance workers power up the Leap-1B engines, which their maker, CFM International, a partnership between General Electric and Safran, recommend should be idled for 15 to 20 minutes to vaporize any moisture that may have collected in the oil and fuel systems and to cover engine parts with a new coat of oil to prevent corrosion. Southwest technicians also boot up the flight computers and auxiliary power units weekly.

The doors of planes stored in the desert are generally opened during summer days so the cabins aren’t damaged by the heat, says David Querio, president of Ascent Aviation Services, which operates at Pinal Airpark in Arizona, one of the largest aircraft storage yards in the world. 

Birds sometimes nest on a plane, and, rarely, an animal will take advantage of an open door to take up residence inside. “They’re removed the same day if they’re stupid enough to do that,” says Querio. 

As the timeline for the 737 MAX’s return has receded further over the past few weeks, some airlines could decide to put their planes into a state of deeper storage, with the engines preserved and batteries and other sensitive parts removed, says Tim Zemanovic, president of the Minnesota aircraft disassembly firm Fillmore Aviation. Because it requires fewer regular maintenance tasks, this type of storage generally runs half the cost of active storage, at roughly $1,000 a month per plane, he says, but it means it would take more time to ready the planes to fly again when aviation regulators sign off on Boeing’s fixes for the 737 MAX.

In long-term storage, the engines, the single most valuable part on an airliner, are “pickled”: The oil is drained and replaced with an oil mixed with a corrosion prevention solution, and desiccant bags—larger versions of the moisture-removing silica packets put in consumer goods—are placed in the inlets, with gauges that monitor humidity levels. Then the ends are covered to keep out the elements, animals and insects, says Zemanovic, who used to run a storage and maintenance facility at Pinal Airpark.

When planes are dormant for more than two months, Boeing’s 737 maintenance manual calls for gaps in the fuselage to be sealed with vinyl tape and screens placed over drain holes. A protective coating is sprayed onto unpainted metal surfaces. The cabins go dark, with the window shades closed and cockpit windshields covered with aluminum foil tape or other reflective material. Cotton covers are put over the seats and runners protect the carpets. 

Planes at a storage yard typically get visited at least once a day to make sure the exterior coverings are intact, says Querio. 

The 737 manual lays out a schedule of maintenance procedures to be done at regular intervals that’s heavy on lubrication of myriad parts.

Every week the plane should be scanned for corrosion; every two weeks, electrical systems powered up for two hours. Every 30 days the plane should be moved a third of a wheel’s turn, to prevent the tires from getting flat spots; carpets and seats checked for mildew; and water drained from the sumps of fuel tanks to prevent growth of bacteria or fungi, which can have the consistency of mayonnaise and plug fuel filters. 

Every 90 days, the flaps, rudder and other control services need to be exercised. 

If the grounding extends to a year, the landing gear may need to be flexed, says Zemanovic, with the plane propped up on giant jacks placed under the wings and the nose. Boeing and Airbus recommend that some models should be restored to operating condition after a year before being shut down again, says Querio.

Boeing expects aviation regulators to sign off on its fixes for the 737 MAX and a revised training regime early in the fourth quarter, but given previous delays and new technical issues that have arisen over the past few months, some industry watchers think the plane’s return to service could slip further. Southwest Airlines has taken the 737 MAX off its flight schedule till January 5; Air Canada has scrubbed the plane through January 8.

A Southwest spokesman said that once the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration declares the model airworthy, the airline expects it will take 120 hours of work on each plane to get them ready to fly again, and 30 to 60 days for the airline’s whole fleet.

One giant task: cleaning the planes. Dust can collect inside planes stored in the desert if the doors are vented, requiring a thorough vacuuming, says Zemanovic, and if the storage facility doesn’t have a concrete wash pad with drains to properly dispose of large amounts of soapy water, workers may have no choice but to wipe down the plane by hand, a laborious process that he says could require a “couple hundred” man hours. Two necessities for the job: 27-foot high work platforms and a mammoth supply of cleaning wipes. 

WestJet extends suspension of Max 8; airline seeking compensation from Boeing

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WestJet Airlines has extended its route suspensions related to the grounding of Boeing’s Max 8 aircraft and is seeking compensation from the aircraft manufacturer for lost revenue.

Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald July 29, 2019

WestJet Airlines has extended its route suspensions related to the grounding of Boeing’s Max 8 aircraft and is seeking compensation from the aircraft manufacturer for lost revenue.

The Calgary-based airline, which owns 13 Max 8 planes for a total of seven per cent of its fleet, announced Monday it is now scheduling without the aircraft until at least Nov. 4, as opposed to the previously stated Aug. 29. Affected routes include Halifax-Paris, Vancouver-Regina, Toronto-Kelowna and Toronto-St.John’s.

WestJet is just one of many airlines around the world that has been forced to re-accommodate guests and adjust its summer flying schedule in the absence of the Max 8, which has been grounded globally since March following two fatal crashes.

In an interview Friday, WestJet CEO Ed Sims said while the airline has no intention of flying the plane again until it is “100 per cent safe to do so,” the grounding is lasting longer than anticipated after U.S. officials identified another flaw with the plane’s software in June.

“It’s up to the regulators now to drive that pace,” Sims said. “But I’d be kidding if I said I wasn’t anything other than anxious to get that aircraft back up in the air.”

WestJet CEO Ed Sims stands in the cabin of a new Boeing 737 Max 8 in WestJet’s Calgary hanger on Thursday December 6, 2018. GAVIN YOUNG / POSTMEDIA

According to WestJet, the airline had 9,225 Max flights planned since the grounding and has been able to cover off almost 6,000 of them with other aircraft from its fleet. Including all aircraft types, WestJet has been able to maintain 98 per cent of its planned departures since March.

Still, the shortage of aircraft has meant WestJet is flying very full planes and has little flexibility in cases of weather delays or unexpected maintenance. WestJet’s ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop, which typically can borrow aircraft from its parent company in the event its own planes are undergoing maintenance, has been plagued with cancellations this summer since there is no spare capacity to be had.

On Friday, Sims said WestJet is seeking compensation for that lost capacity, though he did not provide details on what form that compensation might take.

“We have been having multiple and significant conversations along those lines. Where those conversations will lead to will remain privy between ourselves and Boeing,” Sims said. “But clearly we are one of two Boeing-exclusive jet fleets in North America and we expect that to be reflected in the conversation we have with Boeing.”

Other airlines around the world, including China’s three largest airlinesSouthwest Airlines and Ryanair, are also seeking compensation from Boeing for cancelled Max 8 flights. Boeing said earlier this month it will take an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion U.S. as a result of “potential concessions and other considerations to customers” related to the grounding and associated delivery delays. While the entire estimated amount will be recognized as a charge in the second quarter, Boeing said the actual payouts will  be provided over a number of years and take “various forms of economic value.”

“We remain focused on safely returning the 737 MAX to service,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg, in a release. “This is a defining moment for Boeing. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the flight crews and passengers who fly on our airplanes. The Max grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognized this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks.”

Boeing to take a US$4.9 billion charge over grounded jet

Provided by CTV News – link to full story

David Koenig, The Associated Press – July 18, 2019

DALLAS — Boeing says it will take a US$4.9 billion charge to cover possible compensation to airlines whose Max jets remain grounded after two deadly accidents.

Boeing said Thursday that the after-tax charge will cause a $5.6 billion reduction in revenue and pre-tax earnings for the April-through-June quarter. Boeing is scheduled to report financial results next week.

Airlines around the world have cancelled thousands of flights since March, when regulators grounded the Boeing 737 Max and the company suspended deliveries of new jets.

In this file image, workers walk up the steps of a jetway of a new Boeing 737-900ER airplane being delivered to United Airlines as it sits parked in front of Boeing’s expanded 737 delivery centre, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, at Boeing Field in Seattle. (AP / Ted S. Warren)

Boeing is also raising its estimate of Max production costs by $1.7 billion because production will be reduced longer than expected.

It’s unclear when the plane will fly again. Boeing is working on fixing flight-control software implicated in crashes that killed 346 people.

Boeing insists fix to 737 Max software will ‘get it right,’ but flights are likely still months off

News provided by CBC News – link to full story

Families of crash victims also want tough look at how FAA certifies planes

Kazi Stastna · CBC News · Posted: Jul 18, 2019 4:00 AM ET

Air Canada grounded the 24 Boeing 737 Max jets it had in its fleet in March 2019 after a second Max plane experienced the same problem with the flight-control system as Lion Air Flight 610 had in Indonesia in October. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

It’s the height of the summer travel season, and if the country’s major airports are anything to go by, commercial flights are humming along at a brisk clip, but there’s not a 737 Max jet in sight — and likely won’t be for months.

Boeing’s bestselling plane, which was grounded last March after two 737 Max jets crashed, killing 346 people, including 18 Canadians and at least four permanent residents of Canada, likely won’t be back in operation until December or January 2020, industry watchers predict. 

That doesn’t mean that Boeing has stopped making the planes. And even as investigations and hearings into the cause of the air disasters are taking place, including one held Wednesday by U.S. lawmakers in Washington, the company is still producing about 42 Max jets a month.

Analysts predict it could have around 350 in inventory by year’s end.

There is a huge need for the planes, said Karl Moore, an associate professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University who studies corporate strategy and organization and has advised several major airlines, including Air Canada.

“There’s growth in airlines around the world, and that’s the forecast for a number of years and an overall larger demand from travel,” he said.

Certification delayed

As of June of this year, passenger traffic was up five per cent from the previous year, and the commercial airline industry showed a net profit of $28 billion US, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“With the exception of Southwest Airlines, every Max operator is flying more this summer than it did before,” said Colorado-based aviation analyst Mike Boyd.

Whether Boeing will be able to meet the needs of airlines remains an open question.

Daniel Elwell, acting administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, testifies during the House transportation and infrastructure committee aviation subcommittee hearing in March. The subcommittee held another hearing into the Boeing air disasters Wednesday. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The company is in the process of testing an update to the software that caused an automated feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, to push the nose of the jet down when it detected an erroneous sensor reading. When pilots on two separate flights — Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March — couldn’t override it, the planes crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is the U.S. agency that has to recertify the plane and clear it for flight, also recently asked the company to correct another problem with the flight-control system, which has pushed the ungrounding of the 375 planes airlines around the world took out of circulation further off than the summer or fall date some were expecting.

Civil aviation authorities in Indonesia, Ethiopia, the U.S. and other countries are also reviewing factors such as maintenance, pilot training, the absence of information about MCAS in the plane manual and FAA oversight of the initial certification of the 737 Max in 2017. 

Saudi airline ditches 737 Max

Boeing has a lot riding on clearing the certification process. The crisis is expected to cost it billions of dollars. The company’s April financial results showed its profit down 21 per cent in the first three months of the year, and it has lost $40 billion US in market value since the start of March.

It’s also facing multiple wrongful death suits that it’s expected to settle to the tune of $1 billion US, according to an estimate from the Bloomberg Intelligence report.

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At least one airline, Saudi Arabia’s flyadeal, has cancelled its order for 50 737 Max planes and taken its business to Boeing’s rival, Airbus.

Every month that it can’t deliver the planes means Boeing is paying to store them and not seeing any profit.

Reducing inventory, which Boeing did in April when it cut 737 Max production from 52 to 42 planes a month, also has a cost, since the company has already made investments and hiring decisions based on higher production numbers.

“Part of it is you don’t want to lay off the men and women who make them because they’re well trained. It’s hard to replace them. It takes years to do that,” Moore said.

Air Canada delays, suspends some seasonal routes

Nevertheless, some analysts and airlines have been bullish about the company’s ability to weather this crisis and unload its backlog of jets once it’s given the green light by the FAA. 

“We expect Boeing to work through near-term issues with the 737 MAX,” said J.P. Morgan aerospace industry analyst Seth M. Seifman in a research report that forecast the company’s share price to rise from the roughly $369 it’s trading at today to $430 by December. 

In May, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said he trusted there was an “absolute fix” for the software problem and would be sticking with the 737 Max if it passed FAA certification. 

Admittedly, most airlines have few other options. Airbus, Boeing’s main competitor, has a several-year backlog.

Paul Njoroge, who lost his wife, three children and mother-in-law on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, testified during Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Air Canada had 24 Max planes in its fleet of 400 aircraft and 37 on order when the planes were grounded in March. The airline said it was operating 75 Boeing 737 Max flights daily before the grounding, carrying 9,000-12,000 passengers. 

The 737 Max jets made up only about six per cent of 1,600 scheduled flights system-wide, but their absence has been felt. The airline has temporarily suspended or delayed some summer routes (full list here) and substituted aircraft on others.

Regulators in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Brazil have agreed to co-ordinate the un-grounding the 737 Max when the time comes, Bloomberg reported last month

China, which has the largest Max 8 fleet in a single country and was the first to ground the planes, could be the outlier, especially as there are currently politics at play in terms of its trade negotiations with the U.S. 

Still, it will be hard for it to maintain that position for too long.

“China has 300 of these airplanes on order, and they desperately need them,” said Boyd.

FAA under microscope

Boeing is not the only one that will have to work to restore its reputation in the wake of the airline disasters.

U.S. lawmakers are looking into whether the FAA’s certification of the 737 Max was rigorous enough or whether it gave Boeing too much leeway.

“They (the FAA) need to be probed as to what they knew and what they should have known and what they should have done,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his three children, his wife and his mother-in-law when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 went down.

A Njoroge family photo from a visit to Niagara Falls. Pictured are Njoroge’s wife, Carolyne, daughter Kellie and son, Ryan, who were killed along with his youngest daughter, Rubi, and his mother-in-law, Ann Wangui Karanj, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10. (Njoroge family)

He and Michael Stumo, whose 24-year-old daughter,Samya, died on the same flight, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on aviation along with other expert witnesses Wednesday.

The scrutiny is warranted, says Moore.

“There’s a considerable sense of disappointment — the FAA let us down.” 

Njoroge and Stumo also urged legislators to require pilots be trained on flight simulators, not an online course as has been the case in the past, before recertifying the plane, a cost that would likely have to be borne by Boeing, although not all experts agree it’s needed.

Michael Stumo, whose 24-year-old daughter, Samya, died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 called for better oversight of the plane certification process at the hearing. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Boeing said it’s working with airlines and regulators to get the software update certified and a training program for pilots in place.

“We have taken a thorough and methodical approach to the development and testing of the update to ensure we get it right,” the company said in a statement to CBC News.

The National Video – 737 Max probe hears from man who lost family in crash

The National Video – Boeing Co. said it will dedicate half of a $100-million US fund it created to address two deadly crashes of its 737 Max planes to financial relief for the families of those killed. 3:04

Whether passengers believe that remains to be seen.

recent survey of U.S. airline passengers by Atmosphere Research travel consultancy found that only one in five respondents said they would definitely fly on 737 Max in the first year once it was reinstated, and two in five would take a more inconvenient or expensive flight to avoid the plane.

Severe turbulence seen on Air Canada flight will only get worse

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An Air Canada plane on a flight from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia experienced severe turbulence Thursday, injuring 37 passengers, nine of them seriously. However, with the climate crisis, this will become a lot more common in the future.

On Thursday, Air Canada flight 33 was diverted to Hawaii after hitting a patch of severe air turbulence. The injuries included lacerations and head, back and neck injuries with some passengers actually being thrown from their seats to the ceiling of the airline cabin.Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the Boeing 777-200 was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew and was about two hours past Hawaii when it hit “severe clear air turbulence.”“In the minds of the passengers, the plane is plummeting hundreds or thousands of feet, but we might only see a twitch of 10 or 20 feet on the altimeter,” said Patrick Smith, commercial pilot, and host of, in an interview with The Points Guy.

Global News Video – click here

“In really rare cases, it can injure people and damage aircraft, but in practice, it’s a comfort and convenience issue rather than a safety issue.” While downplaying the dangers of severe turbulence, he did point out that basically, “turbulence” is a coverall term for an instability in the air around a plane caused by winds, air pressure, temperature differentials, nearby storms, jet streams, weather fronts and other atmospheric conditions.

But It’s Getting Worse, and more frequent

Finding a flight path to avoid turbulence is always a concern for airlines. Although turbulence is often unavoidable, pilots can usually work out where the rough areas will be located by looking at weather forecasts and wind variability data. In fact, most modern aircraft use algorithms to keep tabs on high turbulence zones.But with Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) – you can’t see it – and it’s difficult to predict. That is the big difference in CAT and turbulence caused by weather fronts and other atmospheric conditions.

On May 27  2011 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite...
On May 27, 2011 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the western United States and captured this stunning true-color image of wave clouds stretching across the region. The drier air of summer, along with weaker westerly winds, makes wave formation difficult. NASA

A study from the University of Reading published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on April 6, 2017, was the first to examine the future of clear air turbulence, according to Digital Journal.

By analyzing the effects of increased CO2 emissions on the jet stream over the Atlantic Ocean, the world’s busiest air corridor, the research team found that the increased CO2 emissions will create havoc in the air.

It was determined that the average amount of light turbulence will have increased by 59 percent, moderate by 94 percent, and severe by 149 percent by the middle of the century. The uneven warming patterns in the jet stream will make it more disordered and stronger, creating, even more, turbulence.

NASA s Kuiper Airborne Observatory  1971-1995:  One of the instruments on this flying laboratory was...
NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory, 1971-1995: One of the instruments on this flying laboratory was an infrared radiometer intended to detect clear air turbulence. NASA

This means that the extreme air turbulence experienced by the passengers on Air Canada flight 33 could double or even triple as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise. This also means occurrences of severe clear air turbulence will become more common.

“That’s because more C02 means warmer temperatures, which means shifting wind patterns with stronger and less predictable airflow,” said Paul Williams, a professor of atmospheric science and lead author of the 2017 study at the University of Reading in the U.K., according to Global News.

“The special thing about severe (clear air turbulence) is that it’s stronger than gravity,” he said. “So the vertical motions will be happening more rapidly than gravity. If you’re not seatbelted, or any objects are not secured, they will become catapults.”

Continental Airlines Boeing B737-524
Continental Airlines Boeing B737-524 at Houston (IAH)
Nothanks, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Cost to airlines increasing

The climate crisis is having economic impacts on the airline industry. While dangerous air turbulence is a threat to safety and economic security, climate change has given us a whole new list of problems associated with global warming. As more and more extreme weather events take place, there will be more frequent groundings of flights.

This means a loss of pay for airline employees and in particular flight attendants who earn an hourly wage while in the air. The disruption of air travel will leave even more travelers stranded at airports – a not-so-pretty picture. But we’re not just talking about blizzards and torrential rains.

Extreme heat can also ground airlines. In June 2017, airlines in Phoenix, Arizona were forced to cancel some flights because it was too hot for planes to take off. Basically, as the air warms, it spreads out, becoming less dense. This results in less lift-generation by an airplane’s wings at a given airspeed as the aircraft gathers speed along the runway, making it difficult to rise off the runway.

Air Canada April 2020 Toronto – Dublin aircraft changes

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By Jim Liu – Posted 2 July 2019

Air Canada in the first-half of 2020 scheduled Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner service on Toronto – Dublin route, replacing A330-300. From Toronto, the Dreamliner is scheduled to operate from 28 MAR 2020 to 30 APR 2020, once a day.
AC842 YYZ 2255 – 1030+1 DUB 788 D
AC843 DUB 1225 – 1450 YYZ 788 D

Boeing falsified records for 787 jet sold to Air Canada. It developed a fuel leak

News provided by CBC News – link to full story

Air Canada said only 1 plane affected and Boeing said ‘immediate corrective action was initiated’

Katie Nicholson · CBC News · Posted: Jun 28, 2019

An Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet taxies at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. in 2014. One of the 787 jets sold to Air Canada developed a fuel leak in 2015 after Boeing staff falsified records.(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Boeing staff falsified records for a 787 jet built for Air Canada which developed a fuel leak ten months into service in 2015.

In a statement to CBC News, Boeing said it self-disclosed the problem to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration after Air Canada notified them of the fuel leak.

The records stated that manufacturing work had been completed when it had not.

Boeing said an audit concluded it was an isolated event and “immediate corrective action was initiated for both the Boeing mechanic and the Boeing inspector involved.”

Boeing is under increasing scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad following two deadly crashes that claimed 346 lives and the global grounding of its 737 Max jets. 

On the latest revelations related to falsifying records for the Air Canada jet, Mike Doiron of Moncton-based Doiron Aviation Consulting said: “Any falsification of those documents which could basically cover up a safety issue is a major problem.” 

In the aviation industry, these sorts of documents are crucial for ensuring the safety of aircraft and the passengers onboard, he said.  

‘Never a good scenario’

Doiron said even small fuel leaks are dangerous.

The temperature on the internal parts of an aircraft’s turbine engine can reach around 700 degrees. 

With such high temperatures, it doesn’t take much for a flammable liquid like fuel to be ignited if there is a leak around the engine, Doiron said. 

“It’s never, never a good scenario,” he said of the leak. 

Air Canada said it inspected the rest of its 787 jets and did not find any other fuel leak issues.  

“All of our aircraft are subject to regular and thorough inspections and we maintain them in full accordance with all manufacturer and regulatory directives,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email to CBC News. 

Mike Doiron of Moncton-based Doiron Aviation Consulting said the falsification of documents by Boeing employees is a ‘major problem’ that ‘could basically cover up a safety issue.’ (CBC)

Air Canada introduced the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet five years ago.  According to its corporate website, it has 35 787s in its fleet.

WestJet also has two different Dreamliner models in its fleet which it introduced in February.  It said it has full confidence in the safety of those aircraft.

Transport Canada evaluation 

In 2015, Boeing paid the FAA $12 million US to settle ongoing investigations.  As a part of the five-year agreement, Boeing agreed to work with the agency to address safety oversight issues within the company.

That agreement details an “obscure program” that delegates some safety checks to Boeing itself, said Michael Laris, a Washington Post reporter who has looked into many of Boeing’s safety issues that prompted the agreement with the FAA.

An Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in 2014. After the leak was detected, Air Canada said it inspected the rest of its 787 jets and did not find any other fuel leak issues. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

After the devastating 737 Max crashes, Laris said questions are being raised about the effectiveness of Boeing’s oversight program.

“Just how much authority should be delegated to the company? Just how independent are the Boeing employees and their managers?”

Laris started digging into that agreement, and the investigations that prompted it, hoping to learn more about how the 737 Max was approved to fly.

The FAA said it closely monitors and evaluates Boeing’s performance under the 2015 settlement agreement but cannot discuss it.

Boeing said it has introduced formal training for staff on personal accountability in the manufacturing process which emphasizes why it is important to comply with regulations.

Transport Canada said the incident involving falsified documents fell under the jurisdiction of the FAA.

Transport Canada said it is evaluating how all of this new information emerging about Boeing will impact ongoing aircraft safety validation efforts.

‘I was panicking’: More passengers ask for help following Sunwing flight cancellations

News provided by CBC News – link to full story – with a hint from P.N.

Airline says it will compensate affected passengers who rebooked on other airlines

By Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Jul 01, 2019

The Canadian Transportation Agency received 46 complaints involving Sunwing flight cancellations between May 1 and June 25. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Sunwing said on Friday it will compensate passengers who had to pay extra to rebook on other airlines after the carrier cancelled a spate of flights in May and June. 

The flight cancellations sparked anger and frustration, with a total of 46 passengers filing complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Twenty-three of the complaints involved cancelled flights between Toronto and Vancouver. Those cases, plus three others, were connected to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, the CTA said. It didn’t provide details for the remaining 20 cases. 

CBC first reported on the flight cancellations in May when a family of 10 requested help after Sunwing cancelled their flight from Toronto to their home of Vancouver, with just four days’ notice. The family said the airline offered to fly them home nine days after their original departure date. 

After being contacted by CBC, Sunwing flew the family home on time on a different airline. 

Following that story, CBC received more than 20 complaints from other Sunwing passengers. Many plead for help, saying the airline also cancelled their flights on short notice, leaving them with untenable options, such as a new flight on a different date or a refund on tickets that, if rebooked now for the same date, would cost much more on another airline.

Many of the passengers who contacted CBC News didn’t file a complaint with the CTA, saying they didn’t know that was an option. That includes Laryssa Gorecki, who said Sunwing gave her five days’ notice it had cancelled her round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver, set to depart on June 1. 

“I was panicking,” said the Toronto high school teacher, who was headed to Vancouver to make a presentation at a national conference for educators. 

Laryssa Gorecki is shown in Vancouver, where she attended an educators conference. Because Sunwing cancelled her flight to the West Coast city, she spend an extra $590 to rebook on another airline. (Submitted by Laryssa Gorecki)

Gorecki said Sunwing only offered her a refund or an alternate flight on unsuitable dates. In desperation, she rebooked on another airline, paying an extra $590 — on top of her refund — for a last-minute flight.

“I didn’t have a choice,” she said, calling her experience with Sunwing disappointing. “They’re unreliable, irresponsible, and it just left a really bad taste in my mouth.”

Larry Peloso, left, and his husband, Andy Neilson, wait at a smaller airport in London, Ont., for their flight to B.C. (Submitted by Larry Peloso)

Fellow Torontonian Larry Peloso is also upset over his experience with Sunwing. He and his husband booked a round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver, departing on May 31, to attend his nephew’s wedding.

Peloso said the airline informed him eight days before departure that the couple’s flights were cancelled, and offered to rebook them on unworkable dates. 

“I booked this in February, and for them to call me at the end of May just seemed to me to be very bad [customer service],” he said. 

Peloso begrudgingly took a refund and, to avoid incurring added costs for last-minute flights, rebooked their trip on an ultra-low-cost carrier that flies out of smaller airports outside of Toronto and Vancouver. The new flights added about six hours’ driving time to the itinerary, which meant the couple had to each take an extra day off work, rent a car and rearrange some of their other travel plans.

“We sort of made the best of a bad situation. And as far as I’m concerned, Sunwing washed their hands of the entire thing,” said Peloso. “They lost a customer and lost a lot of goodwill.”

Why the cancellations?

In its response to CBC News, Sunwing implied that the 737 Max groundings were behind all of its recent flight cancellations. The airline didn’t specify how many passengers or flights were affected.

A number of airlines grounded their Max fleet in mid-March following two fatal crashes involving the model. Sunwing has four 737 Max planes, which make up less than 10 per cent of its fleet.

To avoid disruptions, the airline said it hired third-party carriers to replace its grounded aircraft — but this solution suddenly hit a snag. 

“Unfortunately, we were not able to source additional flying capacity to cover all our routes this summer and did need to make some cancellations in late May,” said Sunwing spokesperson Jacqueline Grossman in an email. 

“This was unforeseen at the time of accepting reservations for our summer program and while regrettable, it was beyond the control of the company.”

The airline said it made every effort to contact affected passengers in a timely manner and initially offered them the option of a refund or a flight on an alternate date.

Sunwing said it later modified its policy to offer affected passengers with departures in July and onward flights on other airlines on their original travel dates, at no extra cost.

“Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to us and we sincerely regret the inconvenience that our customers experienced,” said Grossman. 

What about the other passengers?

Following a second CBC inquiry, Sunwing said that passengers with departure dates before July who rebooked on other airlines at an added expense will be reimbursed. 

The airline also said it would contact Laryssa Gorecki to refund her the extra money she paid out of pocket to rebook her flight. 

“It was a bumpy road but I’m just happy that they’re coming through with it,” Gorecki said. 

Peloso is less excited about the news, as he doubts he’ll be compensated for having to take an extra day off work or for the hours he spent driving to out-of-town airports. “It’s sort of too little, too late.”

Affected Sunwing passengers who believe they’re entitled to compensation can submit receipts and fill out a post-travel complaint form on Sunwing’s website

Boeing aims to finish software fix to 737 Max in September

News provided by CTV News – link to full story

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max aircraft arriving from Toronto prepares to land at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on March 12, 2019.

David Koenig, The Associated Press, Thursday, June 27, 2019

Boeing says it expects to finish work on updated flight-control software for the 737 Max in September, a sign that the troubled jet likely won’t be flying until late this year.

The latest delay in fixing the Max came a day after the disclosure that government test pilots found a new technology flaw in the plane during a test on a flight simulator.

The plane has been grounded since mid-March after two crashes that killed 346 people. Preliminary accident reports pointed to software that erroneously pointed the planes’ noses down and overpowered pilots’ efforts to regain control.

A Boeing official said Thursday that the company expects to submit the software update to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval “in the September timeframe.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Boeing has not publicly discussed timing of the update.

Once Boeing submits its changes, the FAA is expected to take several weeks to analyze them, and airlines would need additional time to take their grounded Max jets out of storage and prepare them to fly again.

Airlines were already lowering expectations for a quick return of the plane, which has been grounded since mid-March.

Southwest Airlines, the biggest operator of Max jets, announced Thursday that it has taken the plane out of its schedule for another month, through Oct. 1. Earlier this week, United Airlines pulled the plane from its schedule through early September.

While Boeing engineers continue working on the plane’s software, company lawyers pushed Thursday to settle lawsuits brought by the families of dozens of passengers killed in the October crash of a Lion Air Max off the coast of Indonesia and the March crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Max near Addis Ababa.

Boeing and the families of Lion Air Flight 610 victims agreed to mediation that could lead to early settlements. However, the families of some Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 passengers are resisting mediation.

“There are many families here who will not want to participate in mediation until they know what Boeing knew, when they knew it, what they did about it, and what they’re going to do about it to prevent this kind of disaster from occurring again,” said Robert Clifford, a Chicago lawyer who filed lawsuits on behalf of nearly two dozen victims of the Ethiopian crash.

Meanwhile, at a meeting Thursday in Montreal of regulators and airline representatives, the head of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, made an appeal for co-ordination between aircraft operators and regulators.

De Juniac and his airline group are trying to repair the fragmented regulatory approach to the Max. In March, other countries grounded the plane despite the FAA’s initial view that it was safe even after a second crash.

Regulators in Europe, China and Canada have indicated they want to conduct their own reviews of the FAA’s 2017 certification of the plane, which could further complicate and delay the Max’s return to flying.

Requirements for additional pilot training could also affect the timing of the plane’s return.

Boeing wants computer-based instruction, and FAA technical experts agree that would be sufficient. Others believe pilots need to practice with the new Boeing software in flight simulators.

Earlier this month, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed a crippled airliner safely on the Hudson River in 2009, told a House subcommittee that pilots should get simulator training.

That, however, would pose a problem for Boeing and the airlines — it could take weeks or months to find simulator time for every pilot who flies the Max. Southwest and American Airlines each have thousands of Boeing 737 pilots, but neither airline has a Max simulator. Boeing has one in Miami and a similar machine in Seattle.

FAA’s acting administrator, Daniel Elwell, says the agency has not made a final decision about training.

Airlines urge regulators to work together to return 737 MAX to service

Provided by Reuters – link

27 June 2019 By Alistair Smout and Yim Hepher, Paris Reuters

Workers seen next to a Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane on the tarmac at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington on March 12, 2019.JASON REDMOND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Airlines on Thursday urged global regulators to co-ordinate on measures needed to bring the grounded 737 Max jetliner back into service, as Boeing grappled with a new technical glitch and investors sold shares of suppliers over fears of more disruption.

Airlines are now warning of the prospect of flights being disrupted beyond the end of the busy summer period when the grounding of over 300 Max jets and a delivery halt affecting at least 100 more has caused cancellations and high leasing bills.

The 737 Max was grounded worldwide in March in the wake of two accidents in five months, which prompted Boeing to redesign part of an automated software system suspected of playing a role in the crashes that also involved faulty sensor data.

The International Air Transport Association, a body representing some 290 airlines and over 80 per cent of global traffic, said technical requirements and timelines for the safe re-entry to service of the 737 Max should be aligned.

The statement came a day after an IATA summit to discuss the grounding of Boeing’s top-selling passenger jet – the second such meeting held in recent weeks.

It also followed news on Wednesday, first reported by Reuters, that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had identified a new risk that Boeing must address on the 737 Max before it can start flying again.

The FAA did not elaborate on the latest setback, but sources familiar with the matter told Reuters it was discovered during a simulator test last week. It was not yet clear if the issue could be addressed with a software upgrade or would require a more complex hardware fix.

Boeing shares fell 4 per cent to $359.78 in pre-market trade, while shares of some suppliers, such as Britain’s Senior Plc, also dropped sharply.

Downgrading its rating on Senior to “equal weight,” Barclays said it expected a widespread “supplier reset” following the grounding of the 737 Max, with the impact on 2020 results not yet factored into analysts’ consensus forecasts.

“Aviation is a globally integrated system that relies on global standards, including mutual recognition, trust, and reciprocity among safety regulators,” IATA said.

“Aviation cannot function efficiently without this co-ordinated effort, and restoring public confidence demands it,” IATA added, calling also for global alignment on additional training requirements for 737 Max flight crew.

Travel firm TUI said on Thursday it did not expect an additional financial impact after the FAA’s latest warning on the 737 Max. TUI has already taken a 300 million euro ($341-million) hit to remove the jet from its summer schedules.

China was first to ground the Max after a March 10 crash in Ethiopia within five months of a similar crash off Indonesia, killing a combined 346 people.

Once regulators approve the Max for flight, airlines must remove the jets from storage and implement new pilot training, a process that will differ for each airline but that U.S. carriers have said will take at least one month.

Some airlines and regulators have argued that pilots should be trained in a Max simulator before flying, though Boeing’s minimum training requirements do not call for flight simulators, according to draft proposals.