Airlines rethink US$55 billion in Boeing orders amid crash concern

Hugh Fox
March 15, 2019

According to Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde Gebremariam, Boeing should ground all of its 737 MAX 8 jets until they are proven to be safe.

"The pilot was fighting against the computer software, which wanted to drop the nose of the aircraft" and "eventually there was a loss of control", said Garneau, a former astronaut.

Facing increasing pressure to ground Canada's Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Transport Minister Marc Garneau has grounded all MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft.

Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for "weeks" at a minimum until a software upgrade could be tested and installed in all of the planes, US lawmakers said on Thursday.

Lebanon's civil aviation authority said on Wednesday it has banned Boeing 737 MAX passenger jets from the country's airspace after a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia at the weekend.

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Meanwhile, Norwegian Air Shuttles said it will demand compensation from Boeing company, the aircraft maker, after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft numbering 18.

The FAA said on Wednesday a software upgrade being worked on following the Lion Air crash would take months to complete. Recently, another Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed also killing everyone on board.

While aviation experts warn against drawing conclusions until more information emerges from the crash investigation, numerous jurisdictions, including China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union, banned the plane model from their airspace before Canada and the USA did.

In Addis Ababa, about 200 angry family members of crash victims left a briefing with Ethiopian Airlines officials, saying that the carrier has not given them adequate information.

"The new information comes from satellite tracking data suggesting a possible, although unproven in the flight profile of the Lion Air aircraft, and I caution that this new information is not conclusive and that we must await further evidence hopefully from the voice and data recorders", Garneau continued.

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"For a week or two, it will be bedlam and chaos", said Marvin Ryder, an assistant professor of marketing at McMaster University. "Air Canada Component of CUPE always believes that the safety of passengers and crew must come first", said president Wesley Lesosky.

Garneau said he will reverse the ban when he sees the "smoking gun that will explain what happened with this particular flight".

Boeing is one of the world's largest producers of commercial aircraft.

He says that affects airlines like Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing, and also has implications for airlines from outside the country.

It was the second time the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years, grounding the 787 Dreamliner in 2013 due to problems with smoking batteries.

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