Boeing says to upgrade software in 737 Max 8 fleet in weeks

by Garry Watts March 14, 2019, 1:17
Boeing says to upgrade software in 737 Max 8 fleet in weeks

"Thousands of passengers every day depend on the aviation system to get them safely to their destinations, and we must never become complacent with the level of safety in our system".

Transport Minister Marc Garneau is grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes in Canada over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed all on board, including 18 Canadians.

The United States became one of the last countries to ban the aircrafts on Wednesday afternoon with Trump announcing that the issuing an emergency order to ground the planes.

"The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today", the FAA said in a statement, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the planes would be grounded.

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the French BEA both said they have so far had no request for help, though the AAIB would consider stepping in if asked, a spokesman said.

Trump said any airplane now in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded.

Boeing's technical team joined U.S., Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

Boeing, which makes the Max8, issued a statement saying it supports the action to temporarily ground the plane.

"It's a awful, bad thing". "Boeing is an incredible company". "Safety, not the cost of retraining, must be the FAA's primary concern". "What we're doing, it nearly has a simultaneous - we were coordinating with Canada", he said.

"We are releasing that enhancement this week and are committed to providing our customers with all the information they need to travel with confidence".

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The airline Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, said any decision about cancelling the order would be premature.

Sunday's tragic crash of ET302 comes just as Ethiopian Airlines has been riding a wave of worldwide investment, expansion and optimism.

On Monday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the department had sent investigators to Ethiopia and would act if it had information about a threat to the public.

"There are still many facts to learn and work to be done", he said. "It has something that has viscerally caught the attention of Canadians", he said.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said their pilots had received special training. Info from the USA federal database revealed pilots have always been complaining about the plane's issues.

That has left the US Federal Aviation Administration isolated in arguing that the Max should continue flying, challenging its standing as the industry's leading regulator.

Southwest is the world's largest operator of the 737 MAX 8 with 34 jets, while American flies 24 MAX 8s and United 14 MAX 9s.

"They are working very, very hard right now and, hopefully, they'll quickly come up with an answer", Trump said. Air Canada shares initially fell after the announcement but were up about 1 percent while WestJet was down 1.4 percent. "Decisions such as the one taken today are hard to make, but ultimately important to ensure continued public confidence in aviation", the union said in a statement.

"Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual inadequate and nearly criminally insufficient", the newspaper noted.

Since the Indonesia crash, an automated anti-stall system that dips the aircraft's nose down has been the focus of attention.

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