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American Airline Cancels Boeing 737 MAX Flights Until 2020

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American Airlines Group Inc said on Wednesday it was extending cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights to January 15 next year as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane.
The largest U.S. airline, which had previously cancelled about 140 flights a day through December 3, said it expected to gradually resume MAX flights starting on January 16.
American said it believed the software updates would lead to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “re-certification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020.”
The FAA said it is “is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service.
The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so.”
The fast-selling 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March, while Boeing updates flight control software at the centre of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.
Among other U.S. airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co has cancelled flights through Jan. 5 and United Airlines Holdings Inc until December 19.
An ongoing regulatory safety review means a key 737 MAX certification test flight is unlikely before November, Reuters reported, Tuesday.
Boeing has repeatedly said it hopes to resume flights in the fourth quarter which began on October 1.
FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson, told Reuters in September that the agency would need about a month following the yet-to-be scheduled certification test flight before the planes could return to service.
Boeing plans to revise the 737 MAX software to take input from both of its angle-of-attack sensors in the anti-stall system linked to the two deadly crashes and has added additional safeguards.
Boeing is also addressing a flaw discovered in the software architecture of the 737 MAX flight-control system that involves using and receiving input from the plane’s two flight control computers rather than one.
Meanwhile, airlines that had purchased the fuel-efficient MAX have cancelled thousands of monthly flights as they scramble to meet demand with slimmer fleets, eating in to profit and hurting some growth plans.
On Monday, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association sued Boeing alleging that the plane-maker “deliberately misled” the airline and pilots about its 737 MAX aircraft.
The grounding of the 737 MAX has wiped out more than 30,000 Southwest Airlines flights, causing over 100 million dollars in lost wages for pilots, the union said.
Boeing said the suit is “meritless.”
Fort Worth, Texas-based American, with 24 MAX jets at the time of the grounding and dozens more on order, said it expects to resume about 20 MAX flights a day in mid-January and plans to slowly return the MAX into commercial service throughout January and into February.

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Commission Unhappy With Expansion Work At Imo Airport

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Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done at the ongoing expansion of the Imo Airport Apron project in Owerri.
Director, Policy and Standard of the commission, Mr Alex Elikwu raised the concern last Tuesday when he led a team from the commission and Ministry of Aviation to inspect the phase two and three of  ongoing expansion of the Airports Apron project.
Elikwu said he was not satisfied with the level of work done, considering the amount of money released for the contract.
He said: “We are not satisfied with what we are seeing here today; it fell short of our expectations because out of the N 677million contract sum, a total of N560million has been released to the contractor which constitutes 82 per cent of the total sum.”
According to the director, the quality of the job done so far also fell short of standard.
He also raised worry over the contractor’s absence during the inspection after he was duly informed by the airport manager of their visit.
“We want the ministry of aviation to ensure that the contractor justifies money given to him by the federal government.
“His absence will create a lacuna in our inspection because we need to ask him some technical questions and get direct answer from him but right now that he is not here with us, we will do our report and make recommendations to government,” he said.
The director also expressed regrets on the condition of the runway noting that the spotted potholes made the airport runway fell short of internationally accepted standard.
Elikwu said that this called for urgent attention.
The Airport Manager, Rejoice Ndudinachi said the Apron expansion was an abandoned project when she took over management of the airport.
“This project was abandoned when I came in but I insisted that the contractor must come back to site due to flight increase operations in the airport.
“I don’t supervise the contractor, directly but the ministry of aviation; I also informed him that inspection team from the presidency will visit the site so I don’t know why he is not here,” she said.
The airport manager also appealed to the federal government to help connect the airport to national grid, adding that since she came in, she had been running the airport on a generated power supply.

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FG Promises To Collaborate With IFATCA On Air Safety

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The Federal Government has pledged to collaborate with the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFATCA) and other relevant stakeholders in the aviation industry in a bid to ensure continuous safety and seamless air navigation in Nigeria.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this during a regional stakeholders forum on air safety in Abuja, yesterday, noted that there has been a deliberate and aggressive efforts by government in the area of manpower training in the aviation industry.
He said that government was prepared to partner with the international body of air traffic controllers in a bid to ensure safe skies both in Nigeria and globally.
Sirika noted that the job of an air traffic controller was both crucial and critical to the overall safety of air travel, pointing out that government in realisation of this, was determined that air traffic controllers are proficient in their job.
According to him, a total of 86 air traffic controllers have been trained and deployed under his watch, while 46 are being trained at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria, adding that another set of 40 air traffic controllers trained by the Kano State government have been absorbed into the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The aviation minister also said that part of efforts to make the job of air traffic controllers more efficient and less cumbersome was the earlier deployment of Automatic Dependant Surveillance / Controller Pilot Data link Communication.
He said that this equipment had been deployed both in Kano and Lagos area control centres, and promised that government would implement the agreement reached at the forum.
He pointed out that IFATCA remains a critical stakeholder in the global aviation family.
He urged the air traffic stakeholders to intensify efforts on achieving unbroken air safety within the region and beyond, adding that this requires collaborative efforts across the borders to ensure seamless, safe and efficient air navigation.
The minister, however, noted that the Africa and Middle East region which has more than 15 per cent global population contributes marginally to the global air travel, saying the time has come for the region to put its act together and take up the challenge.

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FAAN Moves To Curb Pollution At Airports

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that efforts have been intensified to curb pollution at the airports so as to make them safe and healthy.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, disclosed this yesterday while speaking to newsmen on curbing pollution emission at airports, in Lagos.
He noted that environmental management studies/environmental audits carried out in all the airports in Nigeria showed that the amount of air pollution arising from the airport operations were all within acceptable limits of the World Bank and federal ministries.
“At the Murtala Muhammed Airport, we are taking a study of carbon emissions and we found out that there are four levels in reducing carbon emissions.
“We are almost through with the first level which is mapping. We have taken statistics and got data of emission that has to do with electricity generating sets and all that. We are keying to that at the airport , we have also completed that of the Abuja airport.
“In our own part in the airport, we have tried to stop the use of pure water and also to discourage water bottles, plastic containers.
“A lot of things have been put in place to reduce plastic usage at the airports. Within our environment, we are also encouraging paper bags instead of plastic and nylon littering in the whole environment “, Yadudu said.
The FAAN boss also explained that air pollution was caused by various gaseous pollutants arising from human developmental and industrial activities and with disregard for best practices with respect to emissions management.
Yadudu reiterated the importance of collaborating with relevant agencies to develop the state action plan for implementation for carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation in Nigeria in order to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
He also added his voice to the global environment body to identify challenges of air pollution emanating from different human activities.

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