Former Delta executive nominated to head FAA – AOPA Pilot

Former Delta executive nominated to head FAA - AOPA Pilot
Air Canada grounds Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1
The airline says the move is intended to provide customers with certainty as they book flights and travel in the coming months.

Some routes are being suspended entirely, including some flights out of St. John's, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver, as the airline substitutes other aircraft on routes that normally use Max 8s.

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the Max model and how well pilots were trained on new features. For now, global regulators have grounded the existing fleet of more than 300 Max aircraft, and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500-billion – are on hold.

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The changes come on the heels of Transport Canada's decision to close Canadian airspace to the aircraft after a Max 8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on March 10, killing all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians. Previously, a Max 8 plane crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

The FAA declined to comment on individual actions by Canada or other countries, but said in a statement that the current, historic aviation safety record in the U.S. and globally is achieved through the FAAs robust processes and full collaboration with the aviation community.

Air Canada announced Tuesday it has adjusted its schedule through to April 30 and is working on updating its May schedules to accommodate affected customers.

In the hope of getting its Max line back into the air soon, Boeing has said it will roll out a software update and revise pilot training. In the case of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, it has raised questions about whether crew used the correct procedures.

Some routes have been suspended until further notice, including flights from Halifax and St. John's to London's Heathrow airport and seasonal flights from Vancouver to Kona, Hawaii, and Lihue, Hawaii, as well as Calgary to Palm Springs, Calif. Customers booked to fly on those routes will now be scheduled to fly through other hubs.

Air Canada has been substituting other planes for its Max 8s, including extending leases for some aircraft it had planned to stop using. The company is also speeding up acquisition of new planes and has hired other carriers such as Air Transat to operate some flights between Vancouver and Montreal and from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.

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The grounding of the Max 8 jets has also meant some route frequencies have been reduced, as larger aircraft are called in to replace smaller planes.

With airlines across the world grounding the planes, theres obviously a noticeable shortage of flights and an increase in delays due to rerouting. US lawmakers and the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that Boeing Max 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded within US airports for “weeks” at a minimum, with no redeployment confirmed yet.

Air Canada has suspended its acquisition of six new Max airplanes, which it had expected to receive in March and April.

Just over one week ago, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed, killing all 157 people on board. In response, airlines around the world announced they would be grounding their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes until further notice. Amongst these were Canadian airlines Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing.

The airline says customers whose flight times or numbers have changed will receive an email with an updated itinerary. The company has also implemented a flexible rebooking policy that offers fee waivers or refunds for affected customers.

As of now, most airlines have worked around the loss of their planes with most flights rescheduled or adjusted. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that some airlines have already begun planning for the redeployment of these planes, even as early as this summer.

Ann de Ste Croix of Dartmouth, N.S., said her April 29 direct flight from Halifax to London was originally scheduled to be on a Max 8.

A nervous flyer, de Ste Croix called Air Canada as soon as she heard the concerns about the aircraft. Originally, she was told she'd have to pay a fee to change her flight, but after the planes were grounded, she was offered the change for free, though her flight will now include a stopover in Toronto.

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"It's on me to get in contact with them," de Ste Croix said. "So if I hadn't been looking into my flights and paying attention to what was going on in the news, I wouldn't have known. They didn't notify us in any way."

The Seattle Times reported that Boeings safety analysis of a new flight control system on MAX jets, known as MCAS, had several crucial flaws, including understating the power of the system. The Times also reported that FAA put pressure on its engineers to speed up the approval process.

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WestJet said that as of March 25, its flight schedules will reflect the removal of Max 8 aircraft from its fleet through to the end of April.

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The airline has seasonal flights from Halifax to London and Paris that are scheduled to begin in late April. A WestJet spokesperson said the company currently has no scheduled changes to its transatlantic flights.

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the MAX model and how well pilots were trained on new features. For now, regulators have grounded the existing fleet of more than 300 MAX aircraft and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500 billion – are on hold.

On Tuesday, Transport Canada said it would send a team to assist the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in evaluating proposed design changes to update the software on the grounded Max jets.

The software has been suspected as a contributing factor in the crashes in both Ethiopia and Indonesia.

The U.S. Justice Department was looking at the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) oversight of Boeing, one of the people said. And a federal grand jury last week issued at least one subpoena to an entity involved in the planes development.

The team would also help determine if any "changes to the design or procedures are necessary," a spokeswoman for Transport Canada said by email.

After Ethiopia, France and the United States all noted parallels with the Indonesia crash, one person familiar with the probe said black box data showed the Ethiopian Airlines jets “angle of attack” was “very similar” to the Lion Air plane.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Monday the agency is re-examining the validation it gave the 737 Max 8 following reports of a U.S. probe into the aircraft's certification by the FAA.

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Canada accepted the FAA's March 2017 certification of the Max under a deal where such approvals by the U.S. are accepted by Canada and vice versa.

From July 2013 through March 2016, Hamilton served as the vice president of Safety, Security and Compliance and oversaw the Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization – a program that takes on specific safety certification duties on behalf of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

"We may not change anything, but we've decided it's a good idea for us to review the validation of the type certificate that was given for the Max 8," Garneau said.

The management reshuffle comes as Europe and Canada said they would seek their own guarantees over the safety of Boeings 737 MAX, further complicating plans to get the aircraft flying worldwide after they were grounded in the wake of crashes that killed more than 300 people.

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Garneau added that Transport Canada would do its own certification of a software change being prepared by Boeing within the next few weeks "even if it's certified by the FAA."

John Hamilton, formerly both vice president and chief engineer in Boeings Commercial Airplanes division, will focus solely on the role of chief engineer, the units Chief Executive Officer Kevin McAllister told employees on Tuesday in an email seen by Reuters.

Boeing‘s commercial airplane division, facing its biggest crisis in years following deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX aircraft, has brought in a new vice president of engineering while dedicating another top executive to the aircraft investigations, a company email showed on Tuesday.

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The management reshuffle comes as Europe and Canada said they would seek their own guarantees over the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX, further complicating plans to get the aircraft flying worldwide after they were grounded in the wake of crashes that killed more than 300 people.

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John Hamilton, formerly both vice president and chief engineer in Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes division, will focus solely on the role of chief engineer, the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin McAllister told employees on Tuesday in an email seen by Reuters.

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“This will allow him to fully dedicate his attention to the ongoing accident investigations,” McAllister said, adding that the staffing changes were needed as “we prioritize and bring on additional resources for the ongoing accident investigations.”

Lynne Hopper – who previously led Test & Evaluation in Boeing’s Engineering, Test & Technology group – has been named vice president of Engineering, McAllister said.

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The shakeup showed how the world’s largest planemaker was freeing up engineering resources as it faces scrutiny during crash investigations while also maintaining production of its money-spinning 737 single-aisle aircrafts.

Previously, Hamilton served as the vice president of engineering for Boeing Commercial Airplanes from April 2016 through March 2019, according to a biography on Boeing’s website.

From July 2013 through March 2016, Hamilton served as the vice president of Safety, Security and Compliance and oversaw the Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization – a program that takes on specific safety certification duties on behalf of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the MAX model and how well pilots were trained on new features.

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For now, global regulators have grounded the existing fleet of more than 300 MAX aircraft, and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500 billion – are on hold.

Video: US Transport Department looks into Boeing 737 Max 8s approval | Al Jazeera English

Boeing shares rose 0.3 percent on Tuesday, to close at $373.43. They are still down more than 11 percent since the crash in Ethiopia, wiping out over $25 billion off its market share.