Friday, 23 October 2020

Boeing is 'gauging interest' from customers about building a new single-aisle jet with improved engines and capacity to carry up to 250 people

 Boeing is reportedly 'gauging interest' from customers about the possibility of building a new single-aisle jet that would be able to carry up to 250 people.  

People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal, Boeing has held conversations with airplane leasing companies, and suppliers about potential interest in the aircraft that would have improved engines and the capacity to carry between 200 and 250 passengers.

Boeing wanted to fill a gap between the MAX and the Dreamliner with a midmarket airplane.

According to the sources, the talks about the new aircraft are at a very early stage and may not lead to a formal development program. 

A DailyMail.com request for comment to Boeing was not immediately returned on Thursday morning.  

Boeing (file image of grounded 737 MAX) is reportedly 'gauging interest' from customers about the possibility of building a new single-aisle jet that would be able to carry up to 250 people

Boeing (file image of grounded 737 MAX) is reportedly 'gauging interest' from customers about the possibility of building a new single-aisle jet that would be able to carry up to 250 people 

According to sources, the talks about the new aircraft are at a very early stage and may not lead to a formal development program. Since the start of the pandemic, Boeing's shares have continued to drop

According to sources, the talks about the new aircraft are at a very early stage and may not lead to a formal development program. Since the start of the pandemic, Boeing's shares have continued to drop 

The plane maker hasn't launched a new commercial aircraft since the Dreamliner in 2004. The first of the Dreamliner aircraft were delivered in 2011. 

Boeing has previously considered creating a new single-aisle aircraft, but opted to produce the 737 MAX instead. 

The 737 MAX is a new iteration of the company's 737.

Talks of the possibility of a new plane comes the same week American Airlines announced that it has plans to put the 737 MAX back in its schedule by the end of the year, assuming that federal regulators soon approve changes Boeing made after two crashes of MAX jets killed 346 people.

A spokeswoman for American said Monday that the airline plans to operate a single daily MAX flight from December 29 through January 4 between Miami and New York's LaGuardia Airport.

American said it will be reviewing its plans beyond that and will begin taking bookings for the flights on Friday.


'We remain in contact with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and Boeing on the certification process, and we´ll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified,' spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said in a statement.

Customers can see on American's website the type of plane for any flight if they know where to click. The airline said customers won't be automatically rebooked on a Max if their original flight plan changes.

The first 737 Max crash occurred in October 2018 in Indonesia, and another crashed less than five months later in Ethiopia.

In both cases, an automated anti-stall system new to the plane pushed the nose down, and pilots were unable to regain control. 

All Max jets were grounded worldwide in March 2019.

Boeing has redesigned software and computers on the plane to make the anti-stall system less powerful.  

Boeing shares climbed on Friday following a report that the European air safety regulator is ready to allow the 737 MAX jet to return to the skies after its worldwide grounding.

Shares in the US aviation giant were up 2.5 per cent after Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), told Bloomberg the plane could start flying before the end of the year.

'Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,' Ky said in an interview. 'What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.'

The EASA completed test flights on the plane in September and is expected to issue a draft airworthiness directive in November, after which there will be four weeks of public comment, Bloomberg reported.

The regulator also has asked Boeing to install a 'synthetic sensor' that would aid pilots should they face a malfunction in the angle of attack sensors, which occurred in both crashes. Existing 737 MAX models will be retrofitted with the new technology.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also reviewing the changes made by Boeing and conducting test flights. 

Earlier this month, aviation safety regulators released pilot training protocols for the Boeing 737 MAX, moving the grounded jet one step closer to returning to the skies.

The FAA published the standards incorporating recommendations from a board of civil aviation regulators from the US, Canada, Brazil and the European Union. The agency is seeking public comment through November 2.

Although Tuesday's action by FAA is 'an important step,' the agency reiterated that 'several key milestones' remain before the plane can be returned to service.

These include a review of Boeing's final design documentation to confirm compliance with FAA regulations.

The agency hasn't given a timetable for making a decision on whether to let the plane fly again.  

In addition to the troubles surrounding the 737 MAX, the airline industry in general has been shaken to its core by the pandemic, pushing some foreign carriers into bankruptcy and driving a few small US ones out of business. 

In March, Congress and the White House gave airlines $25billion plus access to another $25billion in low-interest loans. 

Critics say giving them $25billion more now is just another bailout. The airlines, they say, should have saved more money when they were making record profits instead of spending heavily to buy back their own stock, a strategy that helped shareholders. 

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