Air Canada suspended its financial guidance for the first quarter and full year, citing the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max and the planemaker’s suspension of deliveries.
The Montreal-based carrier said is continuing to develop a contingency plan to address the situation and will provide updates. Certain forecasts for the next two years remain in place.
- Air Canada suspends forecasts following grounding
- Plane’s trouble began immediately after takeoff, NYT reports
- The U.S. appears likely to keep the jet grounded into April
- Boeing said it has paused deliveries of the jetliner
Here are the latest developments (times are for Hong Kong):
Wreckage Piece Offers Clue (1:02 p.m.)
A screw-like device found in the wreckage of the Boeing 737 Max that crashed March 10 in Ethiopia indicates the plane was configured to dive, a piece of evidence that helped convince U.S. regulators to ground the model, a person familiar with the investigation said late Thursday night.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell on Wednesday cited unspecified evidence found at the crash scene as part of the justification for the agency to reverse course and temporarily halt flights of Boeing’s largest selling aircraft. Up until then, American regulators had held off as nation after nation grounded the plane.
The piece of evidence was a so-called jackscrew, used to set the trim that raises and lowers the plane’s nose, according to the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the inquiry. A preliminary review of the device and how it was configured at the time of the crash indicated that it was set to push the nose down, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Trouble Began Shortly After Takeoff (6:35 a.m.)
The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed March 10 was in trouble almost immediately after takeoff as it lurched up and down by hundreds of feet at a time, the New York Times reported, citing a person who reviewed air traffic communications.
The captain of the Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 asked in a panicky voice to turn back only three minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa as the plane accelerated to an abnormal speed, the newspaper reported. Even before his message, air traffic controllers knew he had an emergency, according to the report.
Boeing Pauses Deliveries (4:28 a.m.)
Boeing temporarily halted deliveries of the jetliner because of restrictions imposed by the U.S. FAA. “We continue to build the 737 Max while we’re assessing how the situation—including any potential capacity constraints—will impact our production,” company spokesman Chaz Bickers said.
U.S. Grounding Seen Lasting Through April (1:31 a.m.)
The jets could remain grounded in the U.S. at least through April, lawmakers said after being briefed by aviation regulators. Flights won’t resume until the planes receive updated flight-control software that Boeing and the U.S. FAA are racing to finalize, according to two congressmen. That process could take six weeks or more depending on additional training needed for pilots.
Flight Data Recorder (12:12 a.m.)
The first photo of the Ethiopian Airlines flight data recorder showed external damage from the impact of the crash. Technical work on the boxes will begin Friday, France’s BEA said on Twitter. The flight’s black boxes arrived earlier this week in France, where investigators agreed to analyze the contents.
Average airfares in India soared 65 percent on major routes after the grounding of the 737 Max, shrinking capacity in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. Carriers have previously been luring first-time flyers with ultra-cheap fares.
President Donald Trump said he hopes the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max family of passenger jets is only temporary but the U.S. had to take a “cautionary route” after the plane was involved in two fatal crashes.
Garuda Trims Orders
Garuda Indonesia plans to further reduce its orders for 737 Max jets further after Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. The Indonesian flag carrier initially planned to slash its Boeing 737 Max orders to 20 planes from 49 outstanding before the October disaster involving Lion Air flight 610. Now it plans to cut even more, President Director I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, told reporters in Jakarta.
Indonesia Sends Team
Indonesia will send two officials to Addis Ababa to observe the ET302 investigation, NTSC Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said in a telephone interview. The agency has received no reports from Indonesian carriers of any malfunctions with Boeing 737 Max jets since the crash of the Lion Air flight in October.
Airbus China Talks
Xi Jinping will discuss a major order of Airbus SE planes with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, when the Chinese president visits Paris this month, a French official said Thursday. There are “positive signals” regarding the contract, the official said. Macron and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are also discussing a new contract as part of a fleet renewal at Ethiopian Airlines, the official said.
U.S. Carriers Fill Gaps
U.S. carriers moved swiftly to comply with federal orders grounding their Boeing 737 Max aircraft and shift passengers to other flights. The Max makes up about 3 percent of the mainline fleets for three U.S. carriers: American Airlines Group Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and United Continental Holdings Inc.
Boeing Customers Waver
VietJet Aviation JSC, which doubled an order for the 737 Max to about $25 billion only last month, now said it should decide its plans once the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident has been found. Kenya Airways Plc is also reviewing proposals to buy the Max and could switch to Airbus rival A320. Russia’s Utair Aviation PJSC is seeking guarantees before taking delivery of the first of 30 planes. Indonesia’s Lion Air was already looking at scrapping its Boeing deal after October’s crash.
Norwegian Wants Compensation
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, the biggest European operator of the Boeing 737 Max, said it would ask Boeing to cover the costs of the plane’s grounding. DNB analysts estimated a potential cost of between 5 million kroner ($580,000) and 15 million kroner a day for Norwegian.