Airlines demand Boeing for compensation over grounded jets

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After the troubled Boeing MAX 737 was grounded around the world, airlines are beginning to demand compensation from the manufacturer as revenue losses are expected to mount.
European low cost airline Norwegian Air, which has eighteen 737 Max 8 planes in its fleet, has become the first airline to say publicly it will demand that Boeing pay for lost flight time.
“It is quite obvious we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily,” Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said in a recorded message to customers. “We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.”
The majority of Norwegian’s 737 MAX aircraft serve intra-European routes. The airline has also used the more fuel-efficient aircraft on Trans-Atlantic routes. It has ordered more than 100 of the 737 Max 8 planes.
Another budget carrier, India’s SpiceJet, also said it will seek compensation from Boeing and demand credit on maintenance, repair, and overhaul for its 12 grounded 737 MAX aircraft. The airline had an aggressive expansion plan that banked on the delivery of Max jets. It will now have to lease old planes.
However, Ethiopian Airlines official said that the airline did not make any claim until now.
Operated by Ethiopian Airlines, the Boeing 737-8 Max went down in an area called Ejere, near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa killing all 157 passengers from 35 countries on board. Many were involved in humanitarian work and attending a United Nations Environmental Conference in Nairobi that begins the next day.
On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines grounded its remaining four, 737 MAX planes followed by several other airlines all over the world, citing similarities between the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash in October last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered the temporary grounding of all 737 MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in US airspace on Wednesday. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed the FAA said in a statement, shortly after US President Donald Trump announced the planes would be grounded.
The evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA on led to this decision by adding that the grounding will remain in effect as the FAA investigates.
Following the grounding of the 737 max planes, Boeing shares fell by nearly three percent. The aircraft maker’s stock has gone down by at least 13 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, Boeing’s stock has lost more than 10 percent of its value, wiping out more than 25 billion USD of the company’s market value.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines vows to support families of the victims by supplying all logistic services and providing any information according to Esayas W/Mariam vice CEO of Ethiopian Airlines who met with diplomats of the respective countries who gathered at the premise of Ministry of Foreign affairs. Compensation for families will be given based on international laws.
On Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines organized a memorial service for the victims, including eight crew members, taking the unusual step of busing in relatives and neighbors from around the country to a crash site that is still the focus of an active investigation, in addition to opening a call-in centre that is open 18 hours a day to respond to questions.
The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been recovered from the wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 in which investigators will hope the black box can explain why the plane crashed six minutes after takeoff.
“An Ethiopian delegation led by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has flown the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) to Paris, France for investigation,” the airline said in a statement.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the plane crash in Bishoftu on Sunday, there are local and international experts involved in the process, reports have suggested.
Aircraft manufacturing company Boeing announced a technical team which has since arrived on the site of the Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people to provide technical assistance.
One central question investigators will address is whether the software known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) used on the 737 Max to prevent stalling was central to the accident. Lion Air officials have said sensors on their crashed plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome on its final flight.
Ethiopian airlines have a good reputation for safety. The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when a Boeing 737-800 exploded after taking off from Lebanon, killing 83 passengers and seven crew members. The investigation of this crash has not yet been official.
The airline currently flies to over 50 African cities in what is the largest network by a national carrier. It is also in talks to help about a dozen African countries to establish and manage their carriers.