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Aviation market down after Ethiopian Airlines crash: correspondent

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

A Boeing 737 Aircraft preparing to take off from a runway | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

(REUTERS) Boeing Co shares fell by the most in three years on Monday (March 11) after China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their 737 MAX 8 planes following the second deadly crash of one of the jets in just five months.

The drop – around 7 percent in late morning trade – wiped nearly $16 billion off Boeing’s market value, marking an abrupt reversal for a stock that had been the runaway top performer this year in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

With a stock price near $400 a share, it was by far the largest drag on the price-weighted blue chip index on Monday.

“Well the 737 is absolutely essential to Boeing it’s the backbone of the company’s cash generation and profits. And it’s also the backbone of many airlines operations around the world, you have a 737 taking off somewhere in the world every few seconds it’s absolutely essential to the future of the airline industry and the future of Boeing. And the market is down heavily today reflecting investors concerns about what this accident and the recent previous one at Lion Air means for the company and its profits,” said Tim Hepher, Reuters aviation correspondent.

An Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday (March 10), killing all 157 people on board.

It was the second crash of the 737 MAX, the latest version of Boeing’s workhorse narrowbody jet that first entered service in 2017.

In October 2018, a 737 MAX flown by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air flying from Jakarta on a domestic flight crashed 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Hepher said it was too early to say whether the accidents are related but added it would be a “very big issue for Boeing” if they are.

Boeing said on Monday that the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash is in its early stages and there was no need to issue new guidance to operators of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft based on the information it has so far.

(Production: Nina Hodgson)

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Ethiopian plane crash probe: Pilots followed Boeing procedures

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, April 5th, 2019

Preliminary investigation results on doomed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane discovered that the pilots followed Boeing required procedures, but could not control the flight, the Ethiopian government said on Thursday.

The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed near Bishoftu town, about 45 kilometers from the capital, Addis Ababa, just minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport, killing all 157 people aboard.

“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft,” said Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges.

The minister also noted that preliminary investigation results also revealed that the doomed aircraft “possessed a valid certificate of airworthiness, and the crew obtained the licenses and qualifications to conduct the flight.”

She also revealed that “the take-off role appeared very normal.”

In line with international rules on air accidents, the preliminary report did not attribute blame. Nor did it give a detailed analysis of the flight, which is expected to take several months before a final report due within a year.

According to Moges, two safety recommendations have been forwarded based on the initial information gathered during the course of the preliminary investigation.

“The first one is since repetitive un-commanded aircraft nose-down conditions are noticed in this preliminary investigation, it is recommended that the aircraft flight control system related to the flight control ability shall be reviewed by the manufacturer,” she said.

“And the second one is aviation authorities shall verify that the review of their aircraft flight control system related to flight control ability has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before release of their aircraft to operations,” she added.

The preliminary investigation report was made on the basis of the data from the recorders of the doomed Boeing 737 Max 8.

The preliminary report into the Lion Air disaster said the pilots lost control after grappling with the plane’s manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) software, a new automated anti-stall feature that repeatedly lowered the nose of the aircraft based on faulty data from a sensor.

Boeing said on Wednesday it had successfully tested an update of the MCAS software designed to reduce its authority and make it easier for pilots to handle. REUTERS

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