jet

David Hookstead | Reporter

Wealthy people tired of their cluttered yachts are in luck because you can now buy a “support yacht.”

Everybody knows that one of the worst parts about yachting is the lack of room at times for all your luxurious items. This is day one stuff. Anybody who is in the yacht game knows exactly what I’m talking about, and now that problem has been solved. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Hottest Women On Instagram)

Bloomberg reported the following details on these new vessels:

Enter the support yacht. It’s essentially a boat designed to trail your main yacht and carry all the toys you don’t want cluttering up the mothership. Pioneered in the 1990s from old offshore oil and gas craft, support yachts have become as slick as the vessels they’re intended to serve.

Dutch shipbuilder Damen has delivered a half-dozen 70-meter support yachts with premium finishes like high-specification air conditioning and entertainment systems that cost about $50 million. The Damen Yacht Support line starts at 46 meters and $14 million.

You can check out a photo of the support yacht here. (RELATED:Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Spends $180 Million On New Yacht)

It’s about time somebody started looking out for the wealthy. My friends, the top .0001 percent also struggles. Do you have any idea what it’s like to yacht around Europe with a cluttered deck because of too many jet skis?

Never again will this be an issue for anybody willing to write a very small and reasonable check.

In all seriousness, imagine having so much money that you might spend up to $50 million on a support vessel for your main yacht. That’s the kind of money that starts wars.

If your backup yacht costs more than massive ranch in Montana, then you’re living life the right way.

Life must be nice when your toys clutter your main boat, so you buy a second one just to follow you around. That’s what America is all about.

If there was ever a better example of “f**k you money,” I certainly haven’t found it yet. I need to get myself one of these bad boys ASAP.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO - Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO – Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi, India, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 25, 2019

By Sylvia Westall

MUSCAT (Reuters) – Qatar Airways threw its support behind Boeing on Monday as the U.S. planemaker faces its biggest crisis in years after deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX jet.

Regulators grounded the worldwide MAX fleet after an Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash killed all 157 people on board this month, wiping nearly 15 percent off shares in the world’s biggest planemaker.

“We have confidence in the Boeing airplanes and we are sure they will find the issue they had which is still under investigation,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters in Muscat.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest Middle East carriers, is a major Boeing customer. It has ordered 20 MAX jets and committed to buying a further 40. It has taken delivery of five of the aircraft, according to Boeing’s website.

The airline will delay the April delivery of a single MAX jet until the cause of the crash is known, Baker said.

“I am sure that the aircraft will get back into the skies soon and that Boeing will get to the bottom of what happened and if there is something technical wrong that they will find a fix for it,” he said.

Attention has focused on the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, and the sensors that activate it. MCAS pushes the plane’s nose down if it believes it is ascending at too steep an angle.

Qatar Airways will attend a Boeing briefing this week on software and training updates for the MAX, Baker said.

The MAX is an upgrade to Boeing’s best-selling 737 narrowbody jet and only entered service in 2017. Boeing has booked orders worth more than $500 billion for the MAX.

The Ethiopian crash is the second fatal crash involving the MAX jet. In October, a MAX operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air fatally crashed killing all 189 on board.

Baker said he believed the worldwide grounding was driven by public perception. Passengers around the world asked airlines to change flights or refunds to avoid flying on the MAX after the Ethiopian crash.

“The regulator had to act to give confidence to the people, that the regulators were looking after their interests,” he said.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Louise Heavens and Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An oil pumpjack painted with the colors of the Venezuelan flag is seen in Lagunillas
FILE PHOTO: An oil pumpjack painted with the colors of the Venezuelan flag is seen in Lagunillas, Venezuela January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry have made winners out of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, Gulf of Mexico offshore heavyweights, as refiners in need of substitutes are scooping up oil produced in the region.

Those two companies produce notable amounts of crude oil that refiners have settled on as the immediate replacement for the heavy Venezuelan crude that U.S. refiners relied on for years. Trading volumes in these grades of oil have surged to the highest in months, and prices touched five-year peaks after sanctions were imposed.

U.S. production has surged to a record 12 million barrels a day, but less than 5 percent of that is heavy oil. The sanctions have hamstrung refineries in the United States, as many giant Gulf Coast facilities need heavier oil to produce high-margin refined products like diesel and jet fuel.

Heavy crude accounts for nearly two-thirds of U.S. oil imports. Of that, Venezuela’s oil accounted for 10 percent of heavy crude imports in 2018 and about 13 percent in 2017, according to U.S. Energy Department figures.

Offshore Gulf oil prices – mostly Mars crude, considered the benchmark U.S. sour crude grade – have hit five-year highs, and sales are up sharply, according to company executives, market participants and data reviewed by Reuters.

“We’re buying more Mars for the current time,” said Marathon Petroleum Corp Chief Executive Gary Heminger. Marathon, one of the nation’s largest refiners, was not a major importer of Venezuelan crude. “Since we’re exporting so much in the light sweet crude markets, you’re going to have to bring in more medium sours.”

Shell operates the most Gulf platforms and BP has the highest volume of output from the region, according to figures provided by the companies. Representatives from the companies would not explicitly link the recent boost in sales of offshore crude to Venezuela’s sanctions, though they did acknowledge the market’s interest.

“We do understand that Mars crude is perceived well in the market right now. We’re happy for that and we take advantage of that,” said Rick Tallant, Shell’s vice president of deepwater Gulf of Mexico production.

Production in the Gulf of Mexico rose to a record 1.7 million barrels a day in 2018, and is expected to exceed 2 million bpd in the fourth quarter, according to U.S. Energy Department figures.

Sanctions have intensified the need for the oil that is being pumped out of these vast fields. Gulf production averaged 1.89 million bpd in March, up nearly 145,000 bpd from February, said Jodi Quinnell, oil analyst at Genscape.

GOING TO MARS

Mars generally refers to a medium sour grade of oil produced from the Mars platform, a joint venture between majority owner Shell and BP located about 130 miles (210 km) off the coast of New Orleans.

Refiners including Valero Energy Corp and Marathon have been scooping up Mars from Shell’s trading unit in the weeks following the sanctions, sources familiar with the deals said. Other refiners, such as Phillips 66, were also seen buying Southern Green Canyon (SGC), a grade similar to Mars, from Shell.

Trading in those grades has surged. Volumes in the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI), a tool reflecting prices of three U.S. deepwater sour crudes including Mars, rose to 614,036 contracts for February, the most in nearly a year, data from price reporting agency Argus Media show.

Volumes in Mars for February delivery rose to 410,536 contracts, the highest since August 2018, the data showed.

Prices of other offshore grades such as Thunder Horse, Bonito and SGC also surged to the highest in five years after sanctions took effect.

Phillips 66 declined to comment and Valero did not respond to requests for comment.

EASE OF ACCESS

In an auction of federal offshore leases this week, Shell submitted the most high bids for Gulf leases, winning 87 tracts of land valued at more than $84 million. BP grabbed the third-most parcels, winning 23 parcels priced at more than $15 million.

Shell’s pipeline partnership, Shell Midstream Partners, shipped 10 percent more crude on the Mars system to the Gulf Coast last year.

Both Shell’s Tallant and BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada Starlee Sykes each said their company is continuing to actively invest in the Gulf, where they say crude can be produced at levels that were cost-competitive with that from shale formations.

With several new projects slated to come online as soon as this year, U.S. refiners could replace a good deal of heavy and medium-crude imports with Gulf barrels, said Sandy Fielden, director of commodities & energy research at Morningstar.

    “Because of their proximity and ease of access to this market, Gulf producers have a natural advantage selling new output to Gulf Coast refiners,” he said.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Jessica Resnick-Ault; additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas
An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

March 24, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to a local journalist, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

The report comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

It was not immediately evident why the planes had come to Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking a comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.

(Reporting by Carlos Garcia, Carlos Jasso, Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, and Maria Tsvetkova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas
An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

March 24, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to a local journalist, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

The report comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

It was not immediately evident why the planes had come to Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking a comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.

(Reporting by Carlos Garcia, Carlos Jasso, Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, and Maria Tsvetkova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad
Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

March 23, 2019

By Saad Sayeed

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan wants peace with India and they should focus on health and education, the Pakistani president said on Saturday during a parade to show off its military might following a tense standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Conflict between the rivals erupted last month following a suicide bomb attack claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group in the Indian party of the disputed and divided Kashmir region that killed 40 paramilitary police.

“We do not believe in war and want to solve problems through dialogue,” President Arif Alvi said in his Pakistani Republic Day speech.

“Instead of war we should focus on education and health.”

Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight with Indian aircraft over Kashmir on Feb. 27, a day after a raid by Indian jets on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan.

In their first such clash since their last war, in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The pilot was later released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.

The president, who largely holds ceremonial duties, said India had blamed Pakistan for the suicide-bomb attack without evidence, which he said was irresponsible.

Saturday’s military parade included an air show featuring the Pakistani-built JF-17 fighter jet. One of the aircraft shot down the Indian plane last month.

“Today’s parade is sending the message that we are a peaceful people but we will never be oblivious of our defense,” Alvi said.

The parade was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was invited to attend as the chief guest, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan said on Twitter earlier that he had received a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his best wishes for Republic Day and calling for peace and regional cooperation.

“I welcome PM Modi’s message to our people,” Khan said.

“I believe it’s time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address and resolve all issues.The dispute over the former princely state of Kashmir sparked the first two of three wars between India and Pakistan after independence in 1947. They fought the second in 1965, and a third, largely over what become Bangladesh, in 1971.

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan
The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. Picture taken September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – The African Development Bank Group said on Friday that two General Electric Co subsidiaries would be temporarily barred from bidding on power contracts as part of a settlement of misconduct cases.

The agreement bars GE Power units in Egypt and Germany from bidding for up to 76 months, the bank said. The units, former parts of Alstom that GE acquired in 2015, were found to have engaged in bribery and fraud in 2006 and 2011, the bank said.

“This conduct happened long before GE acquired Alstom’s power business and we cooperated fully with the investigation,” GE said in a statement. “Ethical behavior and compliance are foundational to GE’s ability to successfully operate in more than 180 markets around the world.”

Other development banks may also enforce the bans, the bank said. “We have no reason whatsoever to doubt that the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group will follow the African Development Bank’s lead,” Johann Benohr, a senior advisor to the director of the office of integrity and anti-corruption at the African Development Bank Group, said in an email to Reuters.

The barred entities are Alstom Egypt for Power Projects S.A.E., based in Cairo, and GE Power Systems GmbH, based in Mannheim, Germany, the bank said.

GE is trying to restore profits at its money-losing power business as the conglomerate slims down to three main product lines: power plants, jet engines and wind turbines.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Alwyn Scott and Eric M. Johnson

NEW YORK/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Much like tapping the brake pedal in a car to disengage cruise control, a sharp tug on the controls of older models of Boeing Co’s 737 used to shut off an automatic trim system that keeps the plane flying level, giving the pilot control.

But Boeing disabled the “yoke jerk” function when it brought out the 737 MAX, the latest version of its top-selling jet – and many pilots were unaware of the change, aviation experts told Reuters.

(Understanding controls on the Boeing 737 MAX: https://tmsnrt.rs/2OjLSAt)

(Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question interactive: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

The difference may help explain why pilots struggled to keep their aircraft climbing after takeoff on two fatal 737 MAX flights less than five months apart that killed 346 people.

Pilots of a Lion Air flight that crashed in October scoured a handbook for answers as the plane repeatedly lurched downward in the first minutes of flight, Reuters reported.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight that went down on March 10 showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air accident, aviation authorities said after seeing black-box data.

A pair of switches on the center console between the pilots will turn off the automatic trim and a mechanism, new on the 737 MAX, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, that is suspected of playing a role in both disasters.

TRAINING MATERIAL ‘NOT CLEAR’

But pilots would have needed to know that MCAS existed, that it had unusual power to force the plane down and that “a hard pull on the yoke” would no longer turn off the automatic trim that uses MCAS, John Hansman, an aeronautics professor at MIT, said in an interview.

“That wasn’t clear to the pilots flying the airplane,” Hansman said. “The training material was not clear on that.”

Boeing declined to comment. In the aftermath of the Lion Air crash, Boeing pointed to long-established procedures that pilots could have used to handle a malfunction of the anti-stall system, regardless of whether the pilots knew MCAS existed.

That checklist tells pilots to switch off the two stabilizer trim cutout switches on the central console, and then to adjust the aircraft’s stabilizers manually using trim wheels.

An American Airlines flight manual mentions MCAS only in a table of acronyms, according to an October 2018 edition of the 1,400-page book seen by Reuters. Pilots have raised questions about why more detail on MCAS was not included.

The American Airlines manual’s two-page description of trim controls describes a “trim circuit,” but not how MCAS could be triggered by a faulty sensor reading, which is also suspected in the two crashes.

PREVENTING A DANGEROUS STALL

The MCAS system was designed to counteract the effect on the plane’s handling caused by new larger 737 MAX engines, which had to be placed farther forward and higher on the wings because the 50-year-old 737 design sits relatively low to the ground. That move gave the MAX a tendency to nose up into a stall, a dangerous position in which a plane loses lift as too little air flows across its wings.

MCAS, essentially a few lines of computer code in the flight control system, relies on data from two small, blade-shaped sensors near the nose of the aircraft that measure the angle of air flow. Faults in the sensors are not uncommon, and MCAS relies on only one sensor at a time during flight. In the Lion Air crash, investigators found a faulty reading led the plane’s computer to believe it was stalled and to push the nose down.

Boeing later issued a bulletin reminding pilots how to respond to such a faulty reading. An optional warning light could have alerted pilots to the faulty sensor.

MAINTENANCE, TRAINING UNDER SCRUTINY

Investigators unraveling the Lion Air crash are looking at maintenance records and whether the pilots had enough training to handle the emergency, among other factors.

The 737 MAX can fly without MCAS, so the feature was not considered “flight-critical” even though it has extraordinary power to steer the plane, said an industry expert with knowledge of the system who spoke on condition of anonymity. MCAS controls the large horizontal wing on the plane’s tail known as the stabilizer, while the pilot controls smaller flaps or “elevators” on the stabilizer.

Over several minutes, the stabilizer can shift position enough that the elevator controls can no longer counteract the downward direction of the plane, the source said.

“They gave more control power to the automation than to the pilot,” the source said of the MCAS design.

The Lion Air pilots flew for about five minutes by using the elevator to counteract the stabilizer every 15 or 20 seconds, said Hansman, based on readings from the flight data recorder. After that, the pilot tried pulling back hard on the controls.

“That’s what suggests that the crew didn’t understand the system. They thought they were shutting MCAS off and didn’t,” Hansman said. “Whereas any time during the entire sequence, they could have reached to the middle console and just shut it off.”

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 22, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A child’s foot. Fingers. A passport.

Body parts and personal effects were still strewn across the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 15, a witness told Reuters, five days after the disaster and the day before recovery efforts were halted.

With the site now fenced off, bereaved families are worried the remains of their loved ones may be left at the scene, compounding their anguish.

Citizens of 35 nations were aboard when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet nosedived into a field on March 10 six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.

Families of those who perished complain of a lack of information about recovery efforts, which saw Ethiopian workers using metal parts of the aircraft to dig in the soil.

Religions such as Islam and Judaism require quick burials, but authorities said last week that identifying remains – many burned or in small pieces – might take six months.

“At the beginning, (the Ethiopian authorities) should have blocked off that place and sent an organized team to search, instead of just leaving it open. I’m unhappy about that. It’s supposed to be easier if it’s in the government’s hands,” said Milka Yimam, a dual Ethiopia-Israeli citizen whose 26-year-old son Sidrak died.

Relatives of the victims who visited the site on Monday said it had been cordoned off and the ground leveled, apart from the impact crater. The dead included a grand-niece of consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Excavation was halted last Saturday, ministry of transport spokesman Musie Yehyies told Reuters.

“Excavation has ended for the moment since we have got everything we think we need at the moment. The site has been enclosed and can be revisited,” he said on Friday.

Global attention has mostly shifted to an investigation into the cause of the disaster, and similarities with the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX plane in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people. Pilots of both aircraft reported control problems and crashed minutes after take-off.

The world’s entire 737 MAX fleet was grounded after the Ethiopia crash, with Boeing losing about 12 percent – or $28 billion – of its market value since the disaster.

But as headlines focus on the investigation and its financial fallout, families fear the spotlight has shifted from recovery efforts.

DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE

Israelis whose bodies are not recovered are officially listed at home as “disappeared” rather than “dead” – a status that can cause complications for relatives in matters ranging from inheritance to remarrying.

Some Jewish traditions also require a piece of the body be buried before mourning can begin, with the soul not able to rest until then, giving the families’ quest an agonizing urgency.

So the Israeli embassy has been working hard to retrieve the remains of its two citizens who died in the crash, families told Reuters.

But it hasn’t been easy. After being bounced between various government ministries, the ambassador eventually wrote to the airline to get access to the crash site, a source familiar with matter said. He got no reply – until the Israeli prime minister intervened by phoning his Ethiopian counterpart.

The ambassador and representatives of Israeli volunteer rescue and recovery organization ZAKA were finally able to access the site last Friday. They have not been allowed back.

The embassy said on Thursday ZAKA had been told it could not return to retrieve remains due to a “procedural matter” and that Ethiopia did not want to grant access for other nations.

The Ethiopian ministries of transport and foreign affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

CONFUSION OVER PASSENGERS

An Interpol-led group of nations including Germany and Canada are supporting the DNA testing, three Addis Ababa-based diplomatic sources said. Ethiopia has also contracted British firm Blake Emergency Services to recover and return the remains. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Remains recovered so far have been bagged and stored in an out-of-the-way area of Addis Ababa’s Bole airport, in refrigeration units usually used to store roses destined for export, before being moved to the capital’s St. Paul’s Hospital, two sources told Reuters.

Halting excavations could complicate matters for many countries, some of which are still unsure how many of their citizens were lost.

Although 18 of the victims have been identified as Canadian, others had connections to Canada, meaning its embassy has been supporting more families, said Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Antoine Chevrier. Some were also dual nationals.

Ethiopian Airlines has not published the full passenger list with names and dates of birth. It did not respond to questions over when the list might be published.

Until that is done, confusion remains over dual nationals, and the citizenship of seven people onboard the flight is still not public, diplomats told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa and Katharine Houreld in Nairobi; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

Man looks out through a window with an advertisement of SpiceJet Airline, on a commercial building in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad
A man looks out through a window with an advertisement of SpiceJet Airline, on a commercial building in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – India’s SpiceJet Ltd said on Friday it was in talks will lessors globally to induct aircraft, in an effort to fill a gap after the grounding of its MAX fleet.

The airline was forced to ground its 12 Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 planes by India’s aviation watchdog due to safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people earlier this month.

The low-cost carrier could also benefit from cash-strapped Jet Airways being forced to ground planes, and is in talks with lessors to lease some of those aircraft, a person with direct knowledge of the matter had told Reuters earlier this week.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Source: OANN

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

A number of renewable energy executives and leaders have not completely embraced the Green New Deal, fearing the divisive proposal would cause more harm than good.

Despite a seemingly huge benefit to their bottom line if the resolution were to be implemented, numerous executives working in the renewable energy sector expressed reservations when speaking to Reuters about the Green New Deal. The proposal, they argued, lacks feasibility and openly supporting it would likely upset half of the country.

“If you just broadly endorse the Green New Deal, you are liable to upset one side of the aisle or the other. And that’s not constructive,” stated Tom Werner, the CEO of one of the country’s largest solar power companies, SunPower Corp. “The idea that you could go 100 percent (clean energy) in 10 years would require a lot of things happening perfectly, simultaneously.”

Werner was far from the only renewable energy executive to draw distance from New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s signature proposal.

“We love the enthusiasm the Green New Deal has brought to the climate issue … but we need to operate in political reality,” stated Dan Whitten, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s vice president of public affairs. His association serves as the main lobby group for solar companies.

The president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Greg Wetstone, said the deal is controversial because it “creates controversy and complexity, tying this to issues that are not in our sphere.” Westone took umbrage with the fact the resolution encompasses more than renewable energy, such as a job guarantees for everyone.

Alex McDonough, Sunrun’s vice president of public policy, lauded the Green New Deal for sparking an “important conversation” but refrained from explicitly endorsing the resolution. Other clean energy executives expressed reservations about the controversy that comes with the Green New Deal brand.

Employees work at Veolia’s solar panel recycling plant in Rousset

Employees work at Veolia’s solar panel recycling plant in Rousset, France, June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The big factor, many solar and wind executives argue, is the bipartisan appeal renewable energy is gaining across the country.

Solar and wind technology, no longer confined to the liberal enclaves of California and New England, is spreading across more Republican-leaning states within the heartland. Endorsement for such a contentious resolution could agitate local GOP lawmakers who are needed to promote clean energy legislation.

Republicans in Washington, D.C., have lampooned the Green New Deal since it was revealed in February. The plan calls for a 100 percent shift to renewal energy within a few years’ time and elimination of the fossil fuel industry. It supports a number of other progressive initiatives that have nothing to do with the energy industry. Numerous Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are not supportive of the proposal. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Promises To Offset CO2 From His Private Jet Flights)

Despite questions over feasibility, a number of Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed the Green New Deal, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged to offset carbon emissions from his 2020 presidential campaign travel by donating contributions to renewable energy projects.

“Bernie Sanders is a champion in the fight for climate justice and, like him, we know we need to address our emissions through action, not just rhetoric,” Sanders’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir told HuffPost in a statement. “We are proud to lead the way in the fight against climate change by acting boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy sources.”

The pledge follows a March 15 announcement that Sanders’s campaign would be the first presidential campaign to unionize under organized labor. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign Will Be The First To Unionize)

Sanders has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to travel across the country on private jets during past campaigns. During his 2018 Senate re-election campaign, the Vermont senator spent roughly $300,000 on private jets alone. After losing the 2016 presidential primary to Hillary Clinton, Sanders spent about $100,000 from Clinton’s campaign funds on private jet travel to stump for the Democratic nominee.

Sanders is touting his progressive bona fides in an increasingly crowded Democratic primary field. Sanders is making early attempts to lock up his base against fellow Democrats who are increasingly showing favor to progressive positions.

Democratic presidential candidates Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have all expressed openness to packing the Supreme Court with liberal justices to influence decisions.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair pilots and cabin crew stage a 24-hour strike in Germany
FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft stands on the tarmac at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport during a strike of their pilots and cabin crew in Hahn, near Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

March 21, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 MAX jet have not changed Ryanair’s plans to buy the model, an executive of the Irish airline told Reuters on Thursday.

“Nothing changes because we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation,” Chief Marketing Officer Ryanair Kenny Jacobs said.

He added that the delayed deliveries of five of the airliners to Ryanair will not have an impact on the budget carrier’s summer schedule.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Edward Taylor)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair pilots and cabin crew stage a 24-hour strike in Germany
FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft stands on the tarmac at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport during a strike of their pilots and cabin crew in Hahn, near Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

March 21, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 MAX jet have not changed Ryanair’s plans to buy the model, an executive of the Irish airline told Reuters on Thursday.

“Nothing changes because we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation,” Chief Marketing Officer Ryanair Kenny Jacobs said.

He added that the delayed deliveries of five of the airliners to Ryanair will not have an impact on the budget carrier’s summer schedule.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Edward Taylor)

Source: OANN

A worker assists his colleague as an turbine engine of Lion Air flight JT610 is lifted up at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
FILE PHOTO: A worker assists his colleague as an turbine engine of Lion Air flight JT610 is lifted up at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian investigators said on Thursday the cockpit voice recorder from a crashed Lion Air Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 jet showed pilots were searching for the right checklist in their handbooks and were experiencing airspeed and altitude issues.

The details revealed at a press conference corroborated a Reuters report on Wednesday that was based on three sources with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder’s contents.

Investigators said they have 90 percent of the data needed to release a final report on the October crash that killed 189 people, which is expected in August.

Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at Indonesia’s national transportation committee (KNKT) said the recording showed there was “panic” in the cockpit in the last 20 seconds of the flight.

“At the end of the flight it seemed the pilot felt he could no longer recover the flight, then the panic emerged,” he said while declining to say which of the two pilots panicked.

The investigation has taken on new urgency after a second 737 MAX 8 crash at Ethiopian Airlines last week killed 157 people and led to the global grounding of the model.

French air accident investigation agency BEA said on Tuesday the flight data recorder in the Ethiopian crash showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air disaster.

Investigators examining the Indonesian crash are considering how a computer ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether the pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency, among other factors.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana and Bernadette Christina Munthe; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, India, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

March 21, 2019

MUMBAI (Reuters) – A group of Indian state-run banks want Jet Airways’ embattled founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal to reduce his stake in the carrier to 10 percent, news channel CNBC-TV18 reported on Thursday, quoting sources.

“Banks want Goyal to bring his stake down to 10 percent, below the 17 percent envisaged in the bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP),” sources told CNBC-TV18.

The state-run banks are also pushing Goyal to step down, CNBC-TV18 added.

Jet has more than $1 billion in debt, and owes money to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of whom have started terminating leases with the carrier.

The government has asked state-run banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), to rescue Jet without pushing it into bankruptcy, two people within the administration have told Reuters, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election.

Several people who have worked closely with Goyal, 69, have told Reuters that his penchant for control has emerged as a major obstacle in negotiating a rescue deal.

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar had said on Wednesday that a resolution plan was “almost” ready and that it would not involve a bailout for any individual, including Goyal.

Jet and SBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday, which is a public holiday in India.

(Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski and Jamie Freed

CHICAGO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Pressure mounted on Boeing Co in Washington as U.S. lawmakers called for executives to testify about two crashed 737 MAX jets, even as the world’s biggest planemaker worked to return the grounded fleet to the skies.

A Senate panel plans to schedule a hearing with Boeing at an unspecified date, officials said, the first time a U.S. congressional committee has called the company’s executives to appear for questioning over the crashes.

The same panel, the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation and space, will also question FAA officials on March 27, likely about why the regulator agreed to certify the MAX planes in March 2017 without requiring extensive additional training.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 that killed all 157 on board has set off one of the widest investigations in aviation history. Initial reports from investigators say there are clear similarities between the crash and the Lion Air accident that killed all 189 crew and passengers in November.

While no direct link has yet been established, the MCAS flight control software and related pilot training are at the center of the investigation, and U.S. lawmakers are questioning the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of MAX’s safety.

Boeing has promised a swift update to the MCAS, and the FAA said the installation of new software and related training was a priority.

However, extra computer-based training will be required after the software update, the pilot union of MAX’s biggest customer, Southwest Airlines Co, said on Wednesday, becoming the first major airline union to comment.

Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association said it had previewed the proposed Boeing training, including a required test, which would be mandatory for Southwest pilots before flying the 737 MAX again.

A Boeing spokeswoman said training on the software update would be provided by the manufacturer, but declined to disclose further details.

Regulators in Europe and Canada have said, however, they will seek their own guarantees of the MAX’s safety.

MOUNTING SCRUTINY

The Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the Boeing model intended to be a standard for decades to come.

Investigators examining the Lion Air crash are weighing how the MCAS system ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether the pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency, among other factors.

MCAS is meant to prevent a loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall and send the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

The pilots of the doomed Lion Air flight scrambled through a handbook to understand why the jet was lurching downwards in the final minutes before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

Indonesian investigators have said the cockpit voice recorder information was leaked to the media and they plan to hold a news conference at 0830 GMT on Thursday.

Boeing has said there was a documented procedure to handle the problem.

The company was sued on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago by the estate of one of the Lion Air crash victims in which the plaintiffs referred to the Ethiopian crash to support a wrongful death claim against the company.

A Boeing spokesman said the company does not respond to, or comment on, questions concerning legal matters.

The Seattle Times reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation was joining the investigation into the MAX’s certification. An FBI spokeswoman in Seattle would neither confirm nor deny that it was a part of any investigation.

Criminal prosecutors at the U.S. Justice Department, who are also investigating the FAA’s oversight of Boeing, have issued multiple subpoenas to Boeing, CNN reported, citing sources briefed on the matter.

Bloomberg said U.S. officials started investigating the FAA’s approval of the MAX software linked to the Lion Air plane crash last year within weeks after the accident, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Pentagon Inspector General said it would investigate a complaint that Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, violated ethical rules by allegedly promoting Boeing while in office.

Facing high-profile scrutiny, Boeing reshuffled executives in its commercial airplanes unit to focus on its response.

FINAL MOMENTS

Before the Lion Air flight crashed, sources told Reuters the Indian-born captain, aged 31, was quiet, while the Indonesian officer, 41, said “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is greatest”.

A different crew on the same plane the previous evening had the same situation but resolved it after running through three checklists, though they did not pass on the information to the doomed Indonesian crew, a preliminary report in November said.

As with the Indonesia flight, the Ethiopian crew radioed about control problems shortly after take-off and sought to turn back. Ethiopia’s civil aviation head Wosenyeleh Hunegnaw said he expected a report on the investigation within 30 days.

For now, more than 350 MAX aircraft are grounded, and deliveries of nearly 5,000, worth more than $500 billion, are on hold. Boeing’s shares have fallen 11 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash, wiping $26 billion from its market value.

(For a graphic on ‘Boeing 737 Max deliveries in question’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(For a graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Jamie Freed in Singapore; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, David Shepardson in Washington, Tim Hepher in Paris, Jonathan Stempel in New York, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

A worker assists his colleague during the lifting of a turbine engine of the Lion Air flight JT610 jet, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
A worker assists his colleague during the lifting of a turbine engine of the Lion Air flight JT610 jet, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian investigators said on Thursday that information from the cockpit voice recorder of a Lion Air jet that crashed in October was leaked to the media and they would hold a news conference at 0830 GMT.

The investigation into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that killed all 189 on board has become more urgent after a second deadly accident in Ethiopia last week prompted regulators to ground the worldwide fleet of the aircraft.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Lion Air jet sits on the tarmac of Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangkaraya, central Kalimantan, Indonesia
FILE PHOTO: A Lion Air passenger plane sits on the tarmac of Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangkaraya, central Kalimantan, Indonesia November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

March 21, 2019

(Reuters) – Indonesian carrier Lion Air has started working on $1 billion domestic initial public offering (IPO), Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing sources, as it seeks to move past the crash in October last year that killed 189 people on board.

The company is working with advisers on the planned IPO, which could take place as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported.

Lion Air has mentioned about its IPO plan in the past but has never gone through it.

In 2014, the company floated plans for an IPO to raise up to $1 billion but it did not work. Later Lion Air delayed the IPO in 2016 due to weak market conditions.

Lion Air Could not be immediately reached for comment. (The story refiles to correct dateline to March 21, day in first paragraph to Thursday)

(Reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: India's Border Security Force soldiers patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector
FILE PHOTO: India’s Border Security Force soldiers patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in the Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States remains concerned about India-Pakistan tensions as the two nuclear-armed countries’ militaries remain on alert despite some de-escalation in the region, a senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday.

“We do still see the militaries on alert and so we realize if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack, then you could quickly see escalation in the situation once again,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, which both claim, make the area one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb. 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area, and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by David Alexander and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 20, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Cindy Silviana

ADDIS ABABA/JAKARTA (Reuters) – The world’s biggest planemaker Boeing faced growing obstacles to returning its grounded 737 MAX fleet to the skies on Wednesday, while chilling details emerged of an Indonesian crash with similarities to the Ethiopian disaster.

Experts suspect an automated system, meant to stop stalling by dipping the nose, may be involved in both cases, with pilots unable to override it as their jets plunged downwards.

The March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the flagship Boeing model intended to be a standard for decades to come, given parallels with the Lion Air calamity off Jakarta in October.

The twin crashes killed 346 people.

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hn6V4k)

Chicago-headquartered Boeing has promised a swift update of the automatic flight software for the craft but major regulators in Europe and Canada want to be sure themselves, rather than rely on U.S. vetting.

As Ethiopian investigators pored over black box data from their crash, sources with knowledge of the doomed Lion Air cockpit voice recorder revealed how pilots scoured a manual in a losing battle to figure out why they were hurtling down to sea.

Investigators examining the Indonesian crash want to know how a computer ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency.

Communications showed that in the final moments, the captain tried in vain to find the right procedure in the handbook, while the first officer was unable to control the plane.

“It is like a test where there are 100 questions and when the time is up you have only answered 75,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the cockpit recording that has not been made public. “So you panic. It is a time-out condition.”

At the end, the sources told Reuters, the Indian-born captain, 31, was quiet, while the Indonesian officer, 41, said “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) – an Arabic phrase to express excitement, shock, praise or distress. The plane then hit water.

U.S. “CREDIBILITY DAMAGED”

Boeing has said there was a documented procedure to handle the situation. A different crew on the same plane the evening before had the same problem but solved it after running through three checklists, though they did not pass on all that information to the doomed crew, the preliminary report by investigators released in November said.

Rowing back from previous reliance on U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) vetting, Canada and the European Union will now seek their own guarantees over the MAX planes, complicating Boeing’s hopes to get them flying worldwide again.

Regulators want to be absolutely sure of Boeing’s new automated flight control system, known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), and that pilots are fully trained to handle it.

“Our credibility as leaders in aviation is being damaged,” wrote Chesley Sullenberger, a U.S. pilot famed for landing a jet on the Hudson River saving all 155 people on board a decade ago.

“Boeing and the FAA have been found wanting in this ugly saga that began years ago but has come home to roost with two terrible fatal crashes, with no survivors, in less than five months, on a new airplane type, the Boeing 737 Max 8, something that is unprecedented in modern aviation history,” he added in a scathing article on marketwatch.com.

(GRAPHIC: The grounded 737 Max fleet – https://tmsnrt.rs/2u5sZYI)

Facing such high-profile scrutiny, Boeing, one of the United States’ most prestigious exporters, reshuffled executives in its commercial airplanes unit to focus on the crash fallout.

(GRAPHIC: Boeing 737 Max deliveries in question – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

VOICE RECORDINGS

The FAA noted in a statement that its “robust processes” and “full collaboration with the aviation community” were key to safety worldwide. The regulator is due to have a new head soon, likely to be former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson.

U.S. President Donald Trump had apparently been considering his longtime personal pilot, John Dunkin, before leaning toward Dickson who had a 27-year career at Delta.

In Ethiopia, which is leading the investigation, experts were poring over the in-flight recording of Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed’s voices.

As with the Indonesia flight, they radioed control problems shortly after take-off and sought to turn back, struggling to get their plane on track before it hit a field. However, there is no proven link and experts emphasize that every accident is a unique chain of human and technical factors.

For now, though, more than 300 MAX aircraft are grounded round the world, and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500 billion – are on hold.

Development of the 737 MAX, which offers cost savings of about 15 percent on fuel, began in 2011 after the successful launch by its main rival of the Airbus A320neo. The 737 MAX entered service in 2017 after six years of preparation.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER taxis at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, United States
FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER taxis at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, February 16, 2015. REUTERS/Louis Nastro

March 20, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – State Bank of India’s head told reporters on Wednesday that putting Jet Airways into bankruptcy is the “last option” for lenders and that they are making every effort to keep the airline flying.

“We believe that it is in everybody’s interest that Jet Airways continues to fly,” the SBI chairman, Rajnish Kumar, told reporters after a meeting with government officials, adding that placing Jet into bankruptcy would mean grounding the airline.

Kumar said that talks with Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad, Jet’s largest shareholder, to secure a rescue deal are ongoing.

There is also the possibility of bringing in a new investor, he said. Kumar also said that any decision taken to rescue Jet is a commercial one and is not at the direction of the Indian government.

The 25-year-old airline has defaulted on loans after racking up over $1 billion in debt, and owes money to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of whom have started terminating their lease deals with the carrier.

The government has asked state-run banks to rescue Jet Airways without pushing it into bankruptcy, two people within the administration have told Reuters.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Edited by Martin Howell)

Source: OANN

Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of a Lion Air JT610 that crashed into Tanjung Karawang sea is seen inside a special container after it was found under the sea, during a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of a Lion Air JT610 that crashed into Tanjung Karawang sea is seen inside a special container after it was found under the sea, during a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

March 20, 2019

By Cindy Silviana, Jamie Freed and Tim Hepher

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) – The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

The investigation into the crash, which killed all 189 people on board in October, has taken on new relevance as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators grounded the model last week after a second deadly accident in Ethiopia.

Investigators examining the Indonesian crash are considering how a computer ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether the pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency, among other factors.

It is the first time the voice recorder contents from the Lion Air flight have been made public. The three sources discussed them on condition of anonymity.

Reuters did not have access to the recording or transcript.

A Lion Air spokesman said all data and information had been given to investigators and declined to comment further.

The captain was at the controls of Lion Air flight JT610 when the nearly new jet took off from Jakarta, and the first officer was handling the radio, according to a preliminary report issued in November.

Just two minutes into the flight, the first officer reported a “flight control problem” to air traffic control and said the pilots intended to maintain an altitude of 5,000 feet, the November report said.

The first officer did not specify the problem, but one source said airspeed was mentioned on the cockpit voice recording, and a second source said an indicator showed a problem on the captain’s display but not the first officer’s.

The captain asked the first officer to check the quick reference handbook, which contains checklists for abnormal events, the first source said.

For the next nine minutes, the jet warned pilots it was in a stall and pushed the nose down in response, the report showed. A stall is when the airflow over a plane’s wings is too weak to generate lift and keep it flying.

The captain fought to climb, but the computer, still incorrectly sensing a stall, continued to push the nose down using the plane’s trim system. Normally, trim adjusts an aircraft’s control surfaces to ensure it flies straight and level.

“They didn’t seem to know the trim was moving down,” the third source said. “They thought only about airspeed and altitude. That was the only thing they talked about.”

Boeing Co declined to comment on Wednesday because the investigation was ongoing.

The manufacturer has said there is a documented procedure to handle the situation. A different crew on the same plane the evening before encountered the same problem but solved it after running through three checklists, according to the November report.

But they did not pass on all of the information about the problems they encountered to the next crew, the report said.

The pilots of JT610 remained calm for most of the flight, the three sources said. Near the end, the captain asked the first officer to fly while he checked the manual for a solution.

About one minute before the plane disappeared from radar, the captain asked air traffic control to clear other traffic below 3,000 feet and requested an altitude of “five thou”, or 5,000 feet, which was approved, the preliminary report said.

As the 31-year-old captain tried in vain to find the right procedure in the handbook, the 41-year-old first officer was unable to control the plane, two of the sources said.

The flight data recorder shows the final control column inputs from the first officer were weaker than the ones made earlier by the captain.

“It is like a test where there are 100 questions and when the time is up you have only answered 75,” the third source said. “So you panic. It is a time-out condition.”

The Indian-born captain was silent at the end, all three sources said, while the Indonesian first officer said “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is greatest”, a common Arabic phrase in the majority-Muslim country that can be used to express excitement, shock, praise or distress.

The plane then hit the water, killing all 189 people on board.

French air accident investigation agency BEA said on Tuesday the flight data recorder in the Ethiopian crash that killed 157 people showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air disaster. Since the Lion Air crash, Boeing has been pursuing a software upgrade to change how much authority is given to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX.

The cause of the Lion Air crash has not been determined, but the preliminary report mentioned the Boeing system, a faulty, recently replaced sensor and the airline’s maintenance and training.

On the same aircraft the evening before the crash, a captain at Lion Air’s full-service sister carrier, Batik Air, was riding along in the cockpit and solved the similar flight control problems, two of the sources said. His presence on that flight, first reported by Bloomberg, was not disclosed in the preliminary report.

The report also did not include data from the cockpit voice recorder, which was not recovered from the ocean floor until January.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesian investigation agency KNKT, said last week the report could be released in July or August as authorities attempted to speed up the inquiry in the wake of the Ethiopian crash.

On Wednesday, he declined to comment on the cockpit voice recorder contents, saying they had not been made public.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Jamie Freed in Singapore and Tim Hepher in Paris; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Transportation and Infrastructure House Commitee member DeFazio, speaks at U.S. airline customer service hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) speaks at a committee hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Airline Customer Service,” in the aftermath of the recent forced removal of a passenger from a Chicago flight at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 19, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation committee and another key Democrat asked the Transportation Department’s inspector general on Tuesday to examine key decisions made by the Federal Aviation Administration in certifying Boeing’s 737 MAX jet for use.

The request follows the March 10 crash of a 737 MAX jet in Ethiopia and the crash in Indonesia in October of another 737 MAX jet.

The inspector general’s office said it would open an audit Tuesday into the plane’s approval but has not disclosed what it will examine. Representative Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and committee member Rick Larsen said the crashes underscore “the need to take a more proactive approach with safety to protect the traveling public.”

The two Democrats asked in a letter that the probe include a review of what “led to the FAA’s decision not to revise pilot training programs and manuals to reflect changes to flight-critical automation systems.”

The FAA declined to comment on the letter.

Congress plans to hold hearings as early as next week on the two fatal crashes that are expected to include the FAA’s acting chief, Dan Elwell, and other government officials. The Democrats want the review to help improve the “certification process overall and identify improvements to oversight and safety of all new aircraft.”

Boeing said earlier on Tuesday that it would fully cooperate in the inspector general’s audit.

The Democrats want the audit also to include a review of how each of the new features on the Boeing 737 MAX, including positioning of engines on the aircraft and the corresponding changes to automation, angle-of-attack sensors, and how new software “were tested, certified, and integrated into the aircraft.”

They also ask the review to include “how new features of the aircraft, and potential performance differences in this aircraft, were communicated to airline customers, pilots and foreign civil aviation authorities.”

They also want a status report on corrective actions since the fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October “and whether pilots are being adequately trained before the 737 MAX is returned to revenue passenger service throughout the international aviation community.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes a new speechwriter, a former apologist for the socialist government in Venezuela, will help propel his 2020 campaign to victory. 

Sanders has hired David Sirota to write speeches and act as a communications consultant as the Democratic-Socialist senator continues his quest to win the Democratic nomination for 2020, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally In Des Moines

Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally In Des Moines. Steve Pope/Getty Images

Sirota exhibited his devotion to Venezuela’s brand of socialism during the years of left-wing strongman Hugo Chavez, whose “brand of socialism achieved real economic gains,” according to Sihota. (RELATED: The Key To Winning In 2020 Will Be Properly Explaining Socialism, Says Bernie Sanders)

The journalist was a contributor to Salon magazine in 2013 when he wrote an essay remembering Chavez, who had recently died, praising the despot’s political legacy as an “economic miracle.”

“Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving,” Sirota wrote in Salon. He also argued that the Venezuelan socialism “suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.”

Today, Venezuela appears more than ever a threat to its own citizens as food shortages and a country-wide blackout — phenomenons for which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blames on America —have devastated millions of citizens.

There is mass looting on the streets. According to a 2019 United Nations Human Rights Office report, at least 40 Venezuelans have died while protesting in recent years. The country’s possession of huge oil deposits hasn’t prevented it from approaching the makings of a civil war as the political opposition demands change.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido (C), arrives to take part in a demonstration called by the transportation sector to support him, in Caracas on February 20, 2019. (FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido (C), arrives to take part in a demonstration called by the transportation sector to support him, in Caracas on Feb. 20, 2019. (FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

But for Sirota, the problem was the United States that had “become more unequal than many Latin American nations” and he asked, “Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez’s grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution?”

Sirota’s defense of Venezuela could well be embraced by Sanders, who criticized America’s free market policies and well-stocked supermarkets in the 1980s and argued that queuing-up for bread in the Soviet Union was a symptom of economic freedom. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders, Climate Hawk Spends Nearly $300K On Private Jet Travel In A Month)

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death,” said the Vermont senator, according to the Examiner. Sanders also blamed the United States for the Cold War.

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Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 19, 2019

By Omar Mohammed

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Financiers, passengers and industry partners are, for now, still backing Ethiopian Airlines’ quest to become Africa’s dominant carrier, despite a March 10 crash that killed 157 people.

The causes of the Flight 302 tragedy will likely take months to establish. While much of the international focus has been on U.S. planemaker Boeing and its 737 MAX 8 jet, the airline’s reputation could also hinge on the results of the investigation.

Although crash inquiries focus on preventing future accidents rather than attributing liability, any findings that the carrier fell short in plane maintenance or piloting could be damaging.

For the present, however, passenger confidence in Ethiopian Airlines, long regarded as one of the most reliable in Africa, has remained steady, according to the company. Cancellation and booking rates are unchanged since the crash, said spokesman Asrat Begashaw.

“We are operating as normal,” he told Reuters. “Our brand is keeping its level, and we are okay.”

Two banking sources with knowledge of the matter said that, barring a major new twist in the investigation with long-term fallout, banks were still comfortable lending to Ethiopian Airlines.

“Ethiopian is a solid company,” said one, an official from an international bank that helped finance the acquisition of some Ethiopian Airlines planes. “No reason to change the way the bank sees its credit risk at this point.”

A vote of confidence from lenders is important for the airline because its years of rapid expansion have largely been financed by international borrowing.

The second source, a top European aviation banker, said Ethiopian Airlines was “a good airline, with a good reputation”.

“So unless it (the crash) is a major problem of piloting or maintenance – and it is far too early to talk about that – they will still have access to financing,” the source added.

The sources declined to be identified because the matters are confidential.

FOREIGN INVESTORS

Ethiopian Airlines has borrowed from foreign banks including JP Morgan, ING Capital and Societe Generale over the past decade. It also has outstanding bonds worth $540 million, though none due until 2024, Refinitiv data shows.

The borrowing helped finance the acquisition of stakes in or establish partnerships with at least four African carriers, establishing hubs to feed traffic into Addis Ababa. Last year, the Ethiopian capital overtook Dubai as the main gateway for long-haul passengers into Africa.

The airline’s fleet grew from 35 planes in 2007 to 111 in 2019. It now flies to more than 119 international destinations, up from 52 a decade ago.

The expansion has made the state-owned carrier, founded in 1945, the most profitable major airline on the continent. Ethiopian’s net profit in the 2017/18 financial year rose to $233 million from $229 million the previous year; operating revenue jumped 43 percent to $3.7 billion.

Last year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced plans to sell a minority stake in the airline as part of a broad strategy to open up the country to foreign investors.

Industry analysts said it was too early to evaluate the impact of the crash on the airline’s long-term plans but said, for now, its reputation remained largely intact.

“It’s a very strong management team, with good vision,” said Nawal Taneja, an author and professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies. “We’ve got to look at the strength of the airline as a whole, not just this one incident.”

PARTNERS, BOEING BOOKINGS

Those who want to travel across Africa have few options other than flying. Conflict, poor roads, and limited cross-border train transport often make travel by land difficult.

Analysts said the crash was unlikely to damage Ethiopian’s partnerships with African carriers, key to a strategy that helped increase passenger numbers from 2.5 million a decade ago to 10.6 million last year, or with other industry players.

One such partner is ASKY, a Togo-based carrier which Ethiopian Airlines helped launch in 2010.

“Ethiopian’s accident has not affected our partnership in any way,” said Lionel Tsoto, the airline’s head of public relations. “We continue just as before.”

Global aviation leasing firm GECAS said the airline was a “close and valued partner who we look forward to working with in the future”.

The crash, which saw the Nairobi-bound flight go down minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, triggered a global grounding of 737 MAX planes, wiping about 10 percent off Boeing’s share price. GRAPHIC: http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/testfiles/boeing737maxseries

Investigators have noted similarities with another deadly crash in Indonesia five months ago involving a plane of the same type owned by Lion Air, but safety officials stress the investigation is at an early stage.

Ethiopian Airlines, which grounded its handful of remaining 737 MAX planes, said it would decide whether to cancel orders for 29 others after a preliminary investigation.

Analysts said it was unlikely that the carrier would cancel the orders, worth $3.5 billion at the current list price, because Boeing would have to fix any problems before regulators permit the jet to fly again.

Boeing will be keen to retain the airline as a customer; more than half of Ethiopian’s fleet are Boeing jets.

“Ethiopian have been very loyal to Boeing in the past,” said Phil Seymour, chief executive of the IBA Group, a Surrey-based aviation consultancy.

“They will be in control of the conversation with Boeing now,” he added. “I would suspect that the business decision is to stick with the order.”

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher and Inti Landauro in Paris, Rachel Armstrong in London, Maggie Fick in Addis Ababa and John Zodzi in Lome; Editing by Katharine Houreld, Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

March 19, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday that Jet Airways is currently operating only 41 aircraft, just a third of its original fleet, as the debt-laden carrier struggles to finalize a rescue deal with lenders and its major shareholder Etihad Airways.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement the situation is fluid and that Jet may reduce the number of aircraft it is flying in coming weeks.

Saddled with debt of more than one billion dollars, Jet has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of whom have ended lease deals with the airline before taking the planes out of the country.

The DGCA also said that pilots, cabin crew and ground staff who have reported any kind of stress should not be put on duty, and the airline should carry out regular maintenance of its aircraft even if they are currently grounded.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Edited by Martin Howell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s government has asked state-run banks to rescue privately held Jet Airways without pushing it into bankruptcy, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election, two people within the administration told Reuters.

The finance ministry has in the past year sought regular updates from the banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), on Jet’s financial health, the people said. In recent months, the banks have provided weekly updates about a revival plan and also sought government advice, the people added.

“Top officials at the finance ministry seek regular updates on the issue,” said an official at one of Jet’s lenders, who did not want to be identified as discussions are private.

Details of the discussion between the finance ministry and bankers on bailing out Jet have not been previously reported.

New Delhi has urged state-run banks to convert debt into equity and take a stake in Jet in a rare move in India to use taxpayer money to save a struggling private-sector company from bankruptcy. The two people plus one more source, however, said this would be “transitory” and lenders could sell the stakes once Jet revives.

The government has also nudged its 49 percent-owned National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) – created to invest in stalled and new infrastructure projects – to buy a stake in Jet, a separate government source said.

Saddled with more than 1 billion dollars of debt, Jet is struggling to stay aloft. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, employees and aircraft lessors – some of which have begun terminating lease deals.

The world’s biggest democracy is gearing up for an election next month and its booming aviation sector, which employs close to a million people, has been one of the job-creation success stories that Modi can point to as he seeks a second term.

It is crucial for India that Jet revives as the fall of its second-largest airline could have “disastrous consequences for the investment climate” in the sector, a top government official told Reuters.

The official is concerned that if Jet collapses it could drive up airfare in a fast-growing market, wiping out efforts to bring low-cost air travel to India’s hinterland.

A chaotic end could also make it more difficult for the government to sell a stake in Air India, at least in the short run. Last year, it failed to sell part of its stake in the indebted carrier which currently relies on taxpayer money.

If the government’s plan for Jet succeeds, then state-run banks including SBI and Punjab National Bank (PNB) as well as NIIF would together own at least a third of the airline until they find a new buyer.

Currently, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is Jet’s largest shareholder with a 24 percent stake.

India’s finance ministry, SBI, PNB and Jet Airways did not respond to requests for comment.

KINGFISHER’S COLLAPSE

Most companies in Jet’s financial condition would be placed by creditors into India’s new bankruptcy process, two bankers said. However, memories of the chaos sparked by Kingfisher Airlines’ demise in 2012 have prompted the government to seek a more sober road to rescue, they said.

Kingfisher’s bankruptcy caused job losses, lessors lost millions of dollars and banks took massive writedowns.

Putting what is essentially a services provider like Jet through the bankruptcy process would diminish its value because it owns no major assets, unlike a manufacturing company, as most of its planes are leased, said another government official.

If it is pushed into bankruptcy and lessors start pulling even more planes out of service, there would be nothing left for any potential investors, the official said. Already 41 planes have been grounded by lessors in the past three months, leading to flight cancellations.

While on the surface Jet’s future still hangs in the balance with its main shareholder Etihad at loggerheads over the final terms of any deal, behind-the-scenes support from the government means there is likely to be a bailout.

But there are no easy options, one of the sources said, adding that the lenders do not have the expertise to run an airline so they have to decide what to do once they convert their debt into equity.

New Delhi is also backing a proposal for Jet’s founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal to step down if it means saving the airline, another official said.

“Saving Jet is not equivalent to saving Goyal,” the official said.

RISING AIRFARE

Jet, with its fleet of 119 planes, once controlled a sixth of India’s domestic aviation market. The 25-year-old airline is also one of only two full-service carriers that flies to international destinations. The other is Air India.

The government ideally wants four to six major airlines to ensure fares are competitive and passengers have greater choice, according to the top government source.

India plans to build 100 new airports costing about $60 billion which would need a steady stream of flights to sustain them, and that is possible only if there are enough airlines, a separate official said.

“The investment in these airports will solely depend on operators willing to have regular flights at affordable prices and one operator going bankrupt does not help,” he said.

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah; Editing by Martin Howell and Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - French Defence Minister Florence Parly stands with marine officers as she visits the aircraft carrier
FILE PHOTO – French Defence Minister Florence Parly stands with marine officers as she visits the aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”, on the occasion of the completion of its 18 month-long renovation in Toulon, France, November 8, 2018. Christophe Simon/Pool via REUTERS

March 18, 2019

By Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Monday that Europe was concerned about the United States’ long-term commitment to NATO and implicitly criticized President Donald Trump’s approach toward the military alliance.

Trump, as the alliance’s de facto leader, has made defense spending a priority after years of defense cuts following the 1945-90 Cold War. He has questioned NATO’s value to Washington.

“What Europeans are worried about is this: will the U.S. commitment be perennial?,” Parly said during an event in Washington. She will meet with her American counterpart at the Pentagon on Monday to discuss issues including Syria.

“The alliance should be unconditional, otherwise it is not an alliance. NATO’s solidarity clause is called Article 5, not article F-35,” Parly added, in a reference to the Lockheed-Martin F-35 jet fighter. She did not mention Trump specifically.

NATO treaty’s Article 5 is a provision that means an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all of them.

Trump has been a strong proponent of military products made by U.S. defense companies.

In December, Jim Mattis resigned as defense secretary. Mattis, who was seen as a reassuring presence by European allies, mentioned NATO twice in his resignation letter and laid bare what he saw as an irreparable divide between himself and Trump.

In the past Trump has called NATO obsolete. He has also pushed NATO allies to spend more on defense and during a NATO meeting in July, told them in a closed-door meeting that governments needed to raise spending to 2 percent of economic output or the United States would go its own way.

Parly also said that a push toward greater European autonomy should not be seen as a move against the United States and should not lead to Washington being less engaged in the region.

Trump lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron in November, saying it was “very insulting” for him to suggest Europe should create its own army to protect itself from potential adversaries.

Macron had said that Europe needed a real army to reduce reliance on the United States for defense in the face of a resurgent Russia.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Federal policemen stand near engine parts at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO – Ethiopian Federal policemen stand near engine parts at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 18, 2019

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Investigators probing the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX jet eight days ago have found strong similarities in the ‘angle of attack’ data recorded by the doomed aircraft’s cockpit recorder and data from a Lion Air jet of the same model that crashed in October, a person familiar with the matter said.

Graphs of the two sets of data are “very, very simliar,” the person said on Monday, asking not to be identified because the matter is still in the early stages of investigation.

The angle is a key flight parameter that must remain narrow enough to preserve lift and avoid an aerodynamic stall.

A flight deck computer’s response to readings from an apparently faulty angle-of-attack sensor is at the centre of an ongoing probe into the Lion Air disaster.

The similarity between the two data readings on the Ethiopian and Lion Air flights will be subjected to further investigation, the person said.

Ethiopian and other investigators were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

Source: OANN

Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, India, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

March 18, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Jet Airways’ Chairman Naresh Goyal told the airline’s pilots on Monday he would need “a further short time” to finalize a rescue deal for the cash-strapped Indian carrier as the process is complex.

In a letter, Goyal said he is “committed to have the process completed as soon as possible and restore much needed stability” to the airline’s operations, and that he would make it a top priority to settle delayed salary payments for pilots and some other staff once a deal is finalised.

He also said that talks for the rescue deal with the airline’s biggest shareholder, Etihad Airways, and lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), are ongoing.

Saddled with debt of more than one billion dollars, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of whom have forced the airline to ground as many as 40 planes.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Edited by Martin Howell)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders believes he and the Democratic Party can win the White House in 2020 by “explaining socialism” to Americans voters.

Sanders claimed he can help the party do a better job of acclimatizing people to the concept of “democratic socialism,” as he told National Public Radio Monday.

Supporters listen as Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is introduced at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Supporters listen as Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is introduced at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“I think what we have to do, and I will be doing it, is to do a better job maybe in explaining what we mean by ‘socialism’ — Democratic Socialism. Obviously, my right-wing colleagues here want to paint that as authoritarianism and communism and Venezuela, and that’s nonsense,” said Sanders, who has refused to call for Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro to resign.

Sanders goes on to call Democratic Socialism as “a vibrant democracy.” (RELATED: Bernie Sanders, Climate Hawk Spends Nearly $300K On Private Jet Travel In A Month)

He insists that Americans can afford socialism because “in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we can provide a decent standard of living for all about people. That’s just the reality. That’s not Utopian dreaming; that is a reality. Health care for all can be done and we can save money in doing it.”

Sanders has been an enthusiastic advocate of Canada’s universal heath care system, while others have criticized the country’s high taxes and long wait times for medical help. (RELATED: New Spokeswoman For Sen. Bernie Sanders Is An Illegal Immigrant)

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the "Medicare for All Act of 2017" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

The senator also discussed his support for reparations for the victims of slavery, though he explained:

” … Not if it means just a cash payment or a check to families. I would not support that. . . . I am sympathetic to an idea brought forth by Congressman Jim Clyburn. . . . And he has what he calls a 10-20-30 plan, which says that 10 percent of federal resources should go to communities that have had 20 percent levels of poverty for 30 years. In other words, the most distressed communities in America … “

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FILE PHOTO: Indian police officer fires tear gas shell towards demonstrators in Srinagar
FILE PHOTO: An Indian police officer fires a tear gas shell towards demonstrators, during a protest against the recent killings in Kashmir, in Srinagar May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Ismail/File Photo

March 17, 2019

By Sanjeev Miglani and Drazen Jorgic

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The sparring between India and Pakistan last month threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by U.S. officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events said.

At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”, according to Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Hours later, videos of the bloodied Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.

“NO GOING BACK”

That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism” even after the pilot’s capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India’s fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies “were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other”.

Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” the Pakistani minister said.

Doval’s office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Pakistan’s military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

TRUMP-KIM TALKS

The crisis unfolded as U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to hammer out an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi over its nuclear program.

U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.

A State Department official declined comment when asked if they knew of the threats to use missiles.

Pompeo spoke to Doval, the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, respectively, Palladino said.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson told reporters in Singapore last week that he had separately been in touch with the Indian navy chief, Sunil Lanba, throughout the crisis. There was no immediate response from Lanba’s office to a question on the nature of the conversations.

U.S. efforts were focused on securing the quick release of the Indian pilot by Pakistan and winning an assurance from India it would pull back from the threat to fire rockets, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and officials in Washington said.

“We made a lot of effort to get the international community involved in encouraging the two sides to de-escalate the situation because we fully realized how dangerous it was,” said a senior Trump administration official.

The Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened. China’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The government of the UAE said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan held talks with both Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

India has not given details, but has said it was in touch with major powers during the conflict.

On the morning of Feb 28, Trump told reporters in Hanoi that he expected the crisis to end soon.

“They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop. Hopefully that is going to be coming to an end.”

Later that afternoon, Khan announced in Pakistan’s parliament that the Indian pilot would be released, and he was sent back the next day.

“I know last night there was a threat there could a missile attack on Pakistan, which got defused,” Khan said. “I know, our army stood prepared for retaliation of that attack.”

The two countries have gone to war three times since both gained independence in 1947, the last time in 1971. The two armies are trading fire along the line of control that separates them in Kashmir, but the tensions appear contained for now.

Diplomatic experts said that the latest crisis underlined the chances of misread signals and unpredictability in the ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, and the huge dangers. It still was not clear whether India had targeted a militant camp in Pakistan and whether there were any casualties, they said.

“Indian and Pakistani leaders have long evinced confidence that they can understand each other’s deterrence signals and can de-escalate at will,” said Joshua White, a former White House official who is now at Johns Hopkins.

“The fact that some of the most basic facts, intentions and attempted strategic signals of this crisis are still shrouded in mystery … should be a sobering reminder that neither country is in a position to easily control a crisis once it begins.”.

(Additional reporting by Asif Shahzad in ISLAMABAD, Phil Stewart, Mark Hosenball, Jonathan Landay in WASHINGTON, Joe Brock in Singapore and William James in London; Editing by Martin Howell and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

MLB: Boston Red Sox-Workouts
Feb 18, 2019; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) during a spring training workout at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

March 16, 2019

Chris Sale made his spring training debut in impressive fashion, striking out seven over four innings as the Boston Red Sox posted a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday at Fort Myers, Fla.

The Red Sox delayed Sale’s spring preparation after the team made a long postseason run while winning the World Series. Sale recorded Boston’s last three outs in its clinching Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mookie Betts hit a home run for the Red Sox, his first of the spring. Ozzie Albies had two hits for the Braves.

Cardinals 8, Nationals 5

Nolan Gorman, St. Louis’ 18-year-old top prospect, hit a home run, while Randy Arozarena and Andrew Knizner went deep as well as the Cardinals won at West Palm Beach, Fla. Yan Gomes hit a home run for Washington.

Marlins 11, Mets 6

Pedro Alvarez came off the bench to hit two home runs and drove in five runs as Florida won at Jupiter, Fla. Michael Conforto hit a home run for New York.

Tigers 6, Pirates 3

Christin Stewart hit a home run, his third of the spring, and drove in three runs as Detroit won at Lakeland, Fla. Bryan Reynolds had a two-run single for Pittsburgh.

Yankees 17, Blue Jays (ss) 7

Aaron Judge hit one of six New York home runs and the Yankees pounded out 19 hits in the victory at Tampa, Fla. Veterans Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales hit home runs for Toronto.

Astros 13, Phillies 5

Michael Brantley had three hits and drove in three runs, while Yordan Alvarez and Max Stassi each had two RBIs as Houston won at Clearwater, Fla. J.T. Realmuto hit his third home run of the spring as Philadelphia played without Bryce Harper, who sat with a bruised right ankle.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays (ss) 3

Austin Hays hit a home run in the eighth inning to put Baltimore ahead for good in the victory at Dunedin, Fla. Right-hander Sam Gaviglio gave up two runs on two hits over 3 2/3 innings, with five strikeouts, for Toronto.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI

March 16, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, which crashed killing 157 people, had an unusually high speed after take-off before the plane reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly, said a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording.

A voice from the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX requested to climb to 14,000 feet above sea level – about 6,400 feet above the airport – before urgently asking to return, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the recording is part of an ongoing investigation.

The plane vanished from radar at 10,800 feet.

“He said he had a flight control problem. That is why he wanted to climb,” the source said, adding there were no further details given of the exact problem and the voice sounded nervous.

Experts say pilots typically ask to climb when experiencing problems near the ground in order to gain margin for maneuver and avoid any difficult terrain. Addis Ababa is surrounded by hills and, immediately to the north, the Entoto Mountains.

The New York Times reported Captain Yared Getachew’s voice was on the recording but the Reuters source was not familiar with his voice or that of the first officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur to verify which man was speaking. However, it was the same voice throughout, the source said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday followed other countries in grounding the 737 MAX, citing satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

On Saturday, investigators began studying the cockpit voice recorder. Along with the flight data recorder, the information will be evaluated by Ethiopian authorities, teams from Boeing, and U.S. and EU aviation safety authorities to try to determine the cause of the crash.

HIGH SPEED, FAILED CLIMB

The Ethiopian flight was set to follow the Standard Instrument Departure (SID) from the airport and followed standard procedure with a first contact just after departure, the source said. Everything appeared normal.

After one or two minutes, the voice on the air traffic control recording requested to remain on the same path as the runway and to climb to 14,000 feet, the source said.

The aircraft’s ground speed after departure was unusually high, the Reuters source said, reaching around 400 knots (460 miles per hour) rather than the 200 to 250 knots that is more typical minutes after departure.

“That is way too fast,” the source said.

No more than two minutes later, the air traffic controller was in communication with other aircraft when the voice from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 interrupted, saying “break, break” – signaling that other non-urgent communications should cease. He sounded very scared, the source said.

“He requested permission to return. Air traffic control granted him permission to turn on the right because to the left is the city,” he said. “Maybe one minute passed before the blinking dot on the radar disappeared.”

After starting the turn, the plane disappeared from radar at an altitude of 10,800 feet above sea level, the highest it reached during the six-minute flight. Addis Ababa’s runway is at a high elevation of around 7,600 feet, suggesting the doomed jet made it about 3,000 feet into the sky.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 had data covering the first half of the flight but it dropped out at 8,600 feet.

Other satellite data tracking the plane has not been made available publicly. In the Lion Air crash, investigators are examining the behavior of a new anti-stall system installed on the 737 MAX that led to the plane gaining and losing altitude as the pilots fought for control against the automated system.

Boeing is expected to finalize a software fix for that system within a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said earlier on Saturday.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick; Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld, Jamie Freed, Tim Hepher; Editing by Leigh Thomas, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft taxis at Midway International Airport in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft taxis after landing at Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Kraczynski

March 15, 2019

By Conor Humphries, Jamie Freed and Allison Lampert

DUBLIN/SINGAPORE/MONTREAL (Reuters) – The grounding of Boeing’s global 737 MAX fleet has brought headaches for airlines that need to find alternative aircraft to fly in their place, but it has given some carriers a welcome opportunity to re-evaluate orders for the plane.

Countries and airlines around the world banned the 737 MAX this week after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines plane crash killed all 157 people on board. The disaster followed a fatal crash of the same model operated by Lion Air in Indonesia in October.

For airlines that over-ordered the latest version of Boeing’s 737 workhorse, the grounding could be a good excuse to delay or cancel purchases, saving cash on the balance sheet, analysts said.

“These unfortunate developments could give airlines that have potentially over-ordered an opportunity to review their requirements and fleet strategy,” CAPA Centre for Aviation Chief Analyst Brendan Sobie said.

Many airlines have had to quickly find other aircraft to substitute for the grounded 737 MAX, which has also complicated plans by airlines to use the fuel-efficient, longer-range jet to serve new destinations.

Southwest Airlines Co, the world’s largest operator of the MAX, was planning to fly the jet on its new California-Hawaii route later this year, while Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes inaugurated flights from Brazil to Orlando and Miami in November after receiving its first 737 MAX planes.

Normally there are financial penalties for airlines that cancel orders and for manufacturers that do not deliver according to the contract terms. It was unclear how much legal leverage the MAX grounding might give airlines to wiggle out of commitments or seek damages for costs and lost revenue.

Among airlines that may regret ordering too many 737 MAX, Sobie cited Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation JSC, which he said had based a decision to expand from an all-Airbus A320 fleet by adding 200 737 MAX jets on a flawed strategy of opening joint ventures in overseas markets.

VietJet said it was closely monitoring developments and would make a decision about its order once more is known.

Among other Asian airlines, financially troubled Malaysia Airlines said on Friday that its order for 25 737 MAX jets was under review. Garuda Indonesia said this week it might cancel its order for 20 737 MAXs, which it had already reduced from 49 before the crash.

Lion Air, one of Boeing’s top three MAX customers in terms of total orders, had already thrown into question 187 unfilled orders after its October crash. It told Reuters on Wednesday it would halt all planned 737 MAX deliveries until after a final report into its crash is released later this year.

In Europe, analysts said there was a case for and against cash-strapped Norwegian Air cancelling MAX orders: The ban would offer a reprieve from debt commitments but could leave the airline at the back of a congested Airbus order queue or increase operating costs if flights were replaced with less fuel-efficient jets.

Loss-making Norwegian already said in February it was postponing delivery of 12 MAX aircraft from 2020 to 2023 and 2024 to cut expenditure and shift its focus from expansion to profitability, and this week became the first major airline to publicly say it will seek compensation from Boeing over the MAX grounding.

A Norwegian Air spokesman declined to comment on Friday on whether it was discussing delaying or cancelling altogether MAX 8 orders, saying it was in dialogue with Boeing about a range of topics but had nothing new to share.

FLEET PAIN

For many large carriers like American Airlines Group Inc and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, the 737 MAX a tiny proportion of the total fleet.

But smaller airlines Iceland Air, Poland’s LOT and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA had planned to use 737 MAX jets to cover 25 percent, 17 percent and 11 percent of their summer schedules respectively, Goodbody analyst Mark Simpson said, giving them a higher exposure to the grounding.

“This is going to impact on their operations and cash flow,” he said. “Particularly into the Easter peak season next month and potentially through the summer as well… People will be scrambling for spare aircraft and there are not many, so lease rates will rise.”

Meanwhile, Air Canada on Friday became the first major airline to publicly attach dollars and cents to the uncertainty surrounding the 737 MAX, saying it was suspending its 2019 financial forecasts.

One silver lining for the airlines: Reduced seat capacity may allow them to hike passenger fares, analysts said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paolo, Cindy Silivana in Jakarta and Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur; writing by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Jet Airways passenger aircraft prepares to land at the airport in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad
FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways passenger aircraft prepares to land at the airport in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad August 12, 2013. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Suvashree Choudhury

MUMBAI (Reuters) – A consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) should reach a final resolution plan to rescue embattled Jet Airways in the next one week, an SBI official said on Friday.

Grappling with a debt of more than $1 billion, Jet has delayed payments to banks, lessors, vendors and staff. Lessors have grounded more than three dozen planes, forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled.

All the lenders are working toward a resolution with the “desire that this airline keeps running”, the official said, declining to be named as the matter was sensitive.

Jet, in February, said its board had approved a rescue deal which will make its lenders its largest shareholders as they convert part of their debt into equity and fix a near 85 billion rupee ($1.2 billion) funding gap.

But the plan, which also includes an equity infusion, debt restructuring and the sale and lease back of aircraft, needs approvals from several stakeholders, including major shareholder Etihad Airways.

Newspaper reports https://bit.ly/2u7QYGE, citing sources, on Friday said Etihad was unlikely to agree to the proposed debt resolution plan because of a disagreement over certain terms of founder Naresh Goyal’s shareholding.

Separately, SBI announced the launch of cardless cash withdrawals from its automated teller machines using the bank’s mobile app YONO. This will help minimize debit card-related fraud and theft, the bank said.

(Reporting by Suvashree Choudhury, writing by Abhirup Roy, Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Aditi Shah and Anshuman Daga

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Some lessors of India’s Jet Airways have begun terminating lease deals over unpaid dues and are preparing to move the leased planes abroad, escalating a crisis for the cash-strapped carrier, five sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Two lessors have applied to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator, to deregister at least five planes leased to Jet, three of the sources said. Termination of lease agreements normally precedes applications made to the DGCA.

Jet has delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months and defaulted on loans after racking up over $1 billion in debt. While it is now meeting some of its payments, it’s survival hinges on emergency funding from the country’s main state-backed banks.

Frustrated by the unpaid dues, Jet’s lessors, including many of the world’s biggest players such as GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), Aercap Holdings and BOC Aviation have already taken control of some their planes, sources said, leading to the grounding of nearly a third of its 119 aircraft fleet.

Once the planes are deregistered, they can be taken out of the country and leased to other airlines.

One of the sources with direct knowledge of the matter said that of the planes being deregistered, two are potentially being flown to China and one to Ireland.

Another industry source said GECAS and Aercap had filed an application to deregister a total of five planes.

Lease terminations could hit the already fragile confidence of business partners of Jet.

Jet did not respond to requests for comment. AerCap declined to comment and there was no immediate response from GECAS to a query sent outside normal business hours.

All the sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Founder chairman Naresh Goyal, who transformed Jet to India’s biggest full-service carrier from its humble start 25 years ago, has said it is thrashing out a bailout plan, led by the state-run banks and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.

Before the groundings, Jet controlled over a sixth of the market, capitalizing on a boom in flying. But high fuel taxes, a weak rupee and ultra-low fares have hurt profitability.

Jet’s financial troubles have rekindled memories of Kingfisher Airlines’ collapse in 2012 that forced lessors to write off millions of dollars.

Last week, FLY Leasing Ltd said it had grounded three planes on lease to Jet and would take them back and reallocate them elsewhere if the airline failed to get approvals for its restructuring plan this month.

Jet has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights and irate passengers have turned to social media platforms to express their outrage.

REPOSSESSION STILL TOUGH

After Kingfisher Airlines’ disorderly collapse in 2012, India modified rules in line with the Cape Town convention, an international treaty that makes it easier for foreign lessors to repossess aircraft during payment defaults.

India said last year it was seeking to revise some local laws, which still conflicted with the full implementation of the convention making it a more complicated process in India than in some other countries.

In theory, lessors have the option of filing a complaint with the government, which in turn can cancel the registration of a plane within five working days, allowing lessors to repossess it subject to certain conditions, including unpaid dues. However, this is often a long process.

According to a government notice issued in November, after any application is filed, all airport operators and other private entities, within five days, need to inform the lessor and DGCA of pending dues related to that aircraft for three months preceding the date of deregistration.

Only after these are cleared, the lessor is allowed to fly the aircraft out of India.

On March 11, DGCA clarified that some of the entities included airports, fuel vendors, tax authorities and customs departments, a move that could further complicate reposessions.

Akshay Nagpal, partner at law firm L&L Partners, said that while this notice is aimed at asking the government and other agencies to be more vigilant in seeking their dues, “one cannot rule out lessors viewing this as a step back from their long-time demand of making repossession easier.”

(Reporting by Aditi Shah and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Jet Airways flight information is seen at check-in counters inside the international airport in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: Jet Airways flight information is seen at check-in counters inside the international airport in Mumbai, India, August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

March 15, 2019

By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s embattled Jet Airways put photographs of smiling women employees on social media last week for Women’s Day, using the tagline “Standing tall; touching the skies” but few passengers reacted cheerfully.

“‘Touching the skies’ is a good joke at a time when your flights are getting grounded,” said a respondent on Twitter, while others expressed anger and dismay at cancellations, delays in refunds and long response times to telephone calls.

India’s second-largest carrier, grappling with debt of more than $1 billion, Jet has delayed payments to banks, lessors, vendors and staff. Lessors have grounded more than three dozen planes, forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled.

Rising customer frustration could bring further disruption for the 25-year-old airline, as some flyers backed a boycott, while others blamed cancellations for ruining their plans.

“We had to worry about rebooking flights during our wedding, when there is already so much to do,” said Siddhant Agarwal, a 32-year-old businessman whose flight home from his honeymoon was abruptly canceled just days before his marriage.

Agarwal, who is based in the capital, New Delhi, had to pay nearly twice as much for new tickets, he said.

“They did not even offer an apology, which is disappointing and unprofessional.”

The airline, partly owned by Etihad Airways, did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

PLANES GROUNDED

Amid talks for a bailout led by state-run banks, lessors have forced the airline to ground at least 37 planes over non-payment of dues and some have also threatened repossession.

It had 556 flights on average in January, down from 641 a year earlier, data from the aviation regulator showed.

(For an interactive graphic on Jet’s average daily flights, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2FeFDel)

Jet has planned cancellations of more than 600 flights in March, said one source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Monday’s tally of about 330 flights compared with a daily average of nearly 650 in March 2018, a second source said, adding that short notice about grounded planes triggered many unplanned cancellations.

“The bigger worry is if people stop future bookings, because that will affect cash flows,” said the source, adding that cancellations in February and March outstripped prior months.

Jet Airways’ market share shrank to 14.3 percent in 2018 from 17.2 percent a year earlier, even as India’s aviation market grew nearly a fifth.

Some of the hundreds of aggrieved passengers who posted on the airline’s Facebook page and Twitter told of delays on the way to wedding and festival celebrations, and several uploaded screenshots showing telephone wait times longer than an hour for a response from the customer call center.

After a last-minute cancellation, comedian Kenny Sebastian expressed outrage on Twitter, warning his 1.74 million followers to avoid the airline.

“Best part is they made it sound like it was the passengers’ fault,” he said this week.

(Additional reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi and Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Euan Rocha and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget
Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By David Shepardson, Richard Lough and Aaron Maasho

WASHINGTON/PARIS/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – French investigators on Friday will begin analyzing data from the black boxes of the Boeing 737 Max plane that crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving the aircraft since October.

Experts will be looking for any links between Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash and the October crash of a 737 Max operated by Lion Air in Indonesia that killed 189 people. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing MAX jets in service because of similarities between the two crashes.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX aircraft built at its factory near Seattle, but continues to produce the single-aisle version of the jet at full speed while dealing with the worldwide fleet’s grounding.

Possible links between the accidents have rocked the aviation industry, scared passengers, and left the world’s biggest planemaker scrambling to prove the safety of a money-spinning model intended to be the standard for decades.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were handed over to France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) on Thursday. Technical analysis would begin on Friday and the first conclusions could take several days.

U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday the 737 Max fleet would be grounded for weeks if not longer until a software upgrade could be tested and installed.

Boeing has said it would roll out the software improvement “across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”

The captain of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 requested permission to return to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.

All contact between air controllers and Flight 302 to Nairobi was lost five minutes after it took off, a person who reviewed air traffic communications told the newspaper.

Within a minute of the flight’s departure, Captain Yared Getachew reported a “flight control” problem as the aircraft was well below the minimum safe height during a climb, the Times reported, citing the person.

After being cleared by the control room to turn back, Flight 302 climbed to an unusually high altitude and disappeared from radar over a restricted military zone, the person added.

Relatives of the dead stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday, decrying a lack of transparency, while others made the painful trip to the crash scene.

“I can’t find you! Where are you?” said one Ethiopian woman, draped in traditional white mourning shawl, as she held a framed portrait of her brother in the charred and debris-strewn field.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the 371 MAX models in operation, though airlines are largely coping by switching flights to other planes in their fleets.

Nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge for the industry.

“We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

Boeing would maintain its production rate of 52 aircraft per month, of which the MAX, its newest version, represents the major share. However, Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

CONNECTION TO INDONESIA CRASH?

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s crash in Indonesia.

The head of the Asian nation’s transport safety committee said the report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up so it could be released in July to August, months earlier than its original timeframe.

Though it maintains the planes are safe, Boeing has supported the FAA move. Its stock is down about 11 percent since the crash, wiping more than $26 billion off its market value. It fell 1 percent on Thursday.

U.S. and Canadian carriers wrestled with customer calls and flight cancellations and Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the largest U.S. operators of the 737 MAX, said they had started flying empty MAX aircraft to be parked elsewhere during the ban.

U.S. President Donald Trump, an aviation enthusiast with deep ties to Boeing, said he hoped the suspensions would be short. “They have to figure it out fast,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

A software fix for the 737 MAX that Boeing has been working on since the Lion Air crash in October will take months to complete, the FAA said on Wednesday.

In what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Airline Garuda Indonesia said there was a possibility it would cancel its 20-strong order of 737 MAXs, while Malaysia Airlines said it was reviewing an order for 25 of the aircraft.

Under international rules, Ethiopians are leading the investigation but France’s BEA will conduct black box analysis as an adviser. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also sending three investigators to assist.

The cause of the Indonesian crash is still being investigated. A November preliminary report, before the retrieval of the cockpit voice recorder, focused on maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but gave no reason for the crash.

(For an interactive graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Reporting by Richard Lough, Tim Hepher and John Irish in Paris, Duncan Miriri and Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa, Jeff Mason and David Shepardson in Washington, Omar Mohammed and Maggie Fick in Nairobi; Danilo Masoni in Milan, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Neil Fullick)

Source: OANN

An Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) official examines a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
FILE PHOTO: An Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) official examines a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 15, 2019

(Reuters) – Indonesia plans to speed up the release of the report into its investigation of the October crash of Lion Air Boeing 737 that killed all 189 people on board to “between July to August”, the head of the nation’s transport safety committee KNKT said on Friday.

The crash was the world’s first of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jet. A second deadly incident occurred on Sunday with the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet that killed all 157 people on board.

KNKT head Soerjanto told Reuters his agency would speed up its investigation and release the report months earlier than its original timeline of the fall of 2019.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana; Writing by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: OANN

A Saudi man who's brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, touches a debris after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
A Saudi man who’s brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, touches a debris after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 15, 2019

By Tom Hals, Brendan Pierson and Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – The crash of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX 8 passenger jet in Ethiopia raises the chances that families of the 157 victims, even non-U.S. residents, will be able to sue in U.S. courts, where payouts are larger than in other countries, some legal experts said.

Sunday’s crash occurred five months after the same model of the plane went down in Indonesia, an accident that prompted a string of U.S. lawsuits against Boeing by families of the 189 victims.

While no lawsuits have yet been filed since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, some plaintiffs’ lawyers said they expect that Boeing will be sued in the United States.

Boeing did not immediately comment.

The company, which has its corporate headquarters in Chicago, has often convinced U.S. judges to dismiss air crash cases in favor of litigation in the country where the evidence and witnesses are, usually where the crash occurred.

That allows the company to avoid U.S. juries, which can award hefty punitive damages to accident victims for wrongful death, emotional suffering and economic hardships of surviving family.

Boeing may have a tougher time with that strategy after the Ethiopian crash, some legal experts said.

This is partly because eight U.S. citizens died and because plaintiffs could argue that liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by Boeing executives since the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

“Now with two crashes with a brand-new aircraft, what Boeing did in the intervening five months is more relevant, and that all happened in the United States,” said Daniel Rose, a lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler, a firm that represents air crash victims and their relatives.

The causes are still unknown, but both involved a relatively new 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed within minutes of takeoff and experienced sudden drops in altitude when the aircrafts should have been steadily climbing.

This has raised fresh questions among regulators about a digital anti-stall system known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, designed specifically for the MAX to offset the extra lift from larger engines mounted on its low-slung frame.

In a March 4 court filing in litigation over the Indonesia crash, Boeing asked the judge to limit all discovery in the case to issues of forum, or which country the cased belonged, and said it planned to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

LIABILITY

While potential plaintiffs may name Ethiopian Airlines as a defendant in any lawsuits, the focus on the 737 MAX 8 anti-stall system makes Boeing a likely target of litigation, some lawyers said.

Arthur Wolk, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in air crash litigation and said he has been contacted by a potential plaintiff over the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said Boeing would likely face claims for strict liability. That means they could face an allegation of having sold a product that was inherently defective and dangerous.

Plaintiffs will also claim Boeing failed to exercise reasonable care in designing planes or failed to inform flight crews about how the planes operate, Wolk said.

Rose, the lawyer for passengers, said two accidents so close together will put the focus of any lawsuits on the Ethiopian crash on how Boeing tried to address problems with its MCAS system after the Lion Air crash.

“Were there other efforts by Boeing to essentially minimize the problem or hide the scope of the problem?” Rose asked. If lawyers can show Boeing management acted recklessly, it could clear the way for substantial punitive damages, he said.

Some lawyers who have worked on the other side of such cases are less sure about Boeing’s potential liability.

Kenneth Quinn, a lawyer who represents airlines and manufacturers, said he thought Boeing had a good chance of getting both sets of U.S. cases dismissed on forum grounds.

He said the trend in U.S. courts was in Boeing’s favor.

“Increasingly, attempts to litigate foreign crashes involving foreign airlines on foreign soil are being dismissed,” he said.

In November, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. dismissed a case against Boeing and other defendants stemming from the disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines flight in 2014 because the presumed crash had a stronger connection to Malaysia than the United States.

In 2011, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed 116 wrongful death and product liability cases against Boeing over the 2008 crash of a Spanair jet on a domestic flight in Spain, where the judge determined the cases should be heard.

If the company has to defend U.S. cases, it would likely argue that claims against it are preempted because the FAA had approved the plane’s design, said Justin Green, a plaintiffs lawyer.

While manufacturers in the past have enjoyed broad protection under the Federal Aviation Act, a decision by the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals has called into question whether manufacturers can rely on preemption when they could have easily submitted changes to the FAA for approval.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton
FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including a 737 MAX 8 aircraft bearing the logo of China Southern Airlines (3rd L), are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

March 14, 2019

By Eric M. Johnson, Tim Hepher and Brenda Goh

SEATTLE/PARIS/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s move to ground Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jetliners following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash has cast a shadow over the American planemaker’s immediate hopes for a major jet order linked to a U.S.-China trade deal, industry sources said.

Evidence of a major potential order for more than 100 jets worth well over $10 billion at list prices had risen in recent weeks as Washington and Beijing reported some progress in trade talks to resolve a months-long trade war.

Those expectations were fanned by signs of pent-up demand stemming not only from a drop in China’s public purchases as the two sides descended into a tariff war, but also because China placed no private orders for Boeing aircraft in 2018, according to trade and industry sources familiar with the matter.

Now, those sources say it is uncertain how quickly China will be willing to give the 737 MAX the expected new endorsement after ordering its own airlines to stop flying the jet – though much could change as Ethiopian investigators assemble clues to the second deadly crash of the brand-new model in five months.

On Wednesday, the United States joined a wave of nations grounding the 737 MAX in the wake of Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia, which killed all 157 people onboard. The planes will be grounded for weeks, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday.

Analysts said the crash has added uncertainty for America’s largest exporter over sales to China.

“It is definitely on their list of concerns because China is Boeing’s biggest single export market,” Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said.

Even before the 737 MAX crisis, trade tensions had been widely seen as a growing source of risk for Boeing, which relies on China for one of four of the planes it delivers.

China is poised to overtake the United States as the world’s largest aviation market in the next decade and is gobbling up planes made by both Boeing and Airbus while it invests in homegrown aircraft businesses. Boeing sees Chinese demand for 7,700 jets over 20 years worth $1.2 trillion.

While the trade frictions have visibly hurt businesses such as U.S. soybean farmers and Chinese manufacturers, their impact on Boeing has been less clear.

China routinely places large, headline-grabbing jet orders to mark significant diplomatic moments, such as a deal for 300 Boeing jets signed during a visit by Trump to Beijing in 2017.

But analysts say that behind those headlines, such deals contain a mixture of new demand, repeats of older orders and credits against future deals, meaning the impact remains foggy.

The same could apply to any new bout of jet orders announced with a trade peace deal, a former industry negotiator said.

State buyer China Aviation Supplies declined comment.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is confident the United States could forge a trade deal with China, but ruled out making any deal that was not in U.S. interests.

It is possible China could also decide to use a large order of Airbus jets to relieve pent-up demand. Orders of European jets have slowed too, partly because Chinese buyers have been wary of wading into the trade row and because the economy is slowing.

An aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday there were encouraging signs Airbus was closing in on a long-negotiated deal with China for dozens of narrow-body jets.

SPEAKING SOFTLY

Tit-for-tat tariffs between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economic powers, have slowed the global economy and forced Boeing to walk a geopolitical tightrope for months.

On the one hand, Boeing has been increasing its industrial footprint in China as it aims to win business and increase its sales lead over Airbus in Asia.

On the other hand, Boeing executives have taken pains to sound measured when publicly discussing trade, in part to avoid clashing with Trump who has repeatedly said the U.S. must take steps to protect American jobs and technology.

One person with knowledge of the matter said before the groundings that Boeing could win a “massive” order led by 737s.

Company data shows Boeing did not win any publicly announced aircraft deals in mainland China last year as the U.S.-Sino trade fight festered into a full-blown trade war.

Just as significantly, trade sources say that for the first time in a number of years, Boeing did not win any new mainland orders of a type that are often booked without either party disclosing the name of the buyer due to complex approvals.

Analysts say any trade or safety ructions are unlikely to disturb a trend that sees China balance aircraft orders over time between Europe and the U.S. to achieve political balance.

But Yang Yingbao, a retired professor from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, warned that if the trade war went unresolved, the dispute may force China’s hand.

“If the U.S. government interferes with the market, and not allow Boeing to smoothly sell planes, this will force China to buy Airbus’ planes.”

Boeing declined to comment for this story.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Tim Hepher in Paris, and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; additional reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore, Shanghai newsroom, Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A US Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jet taxis after landing at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford
FILE PHOTO: A US Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jet taxis after landing at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Britain July 8, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

March 14, 2019

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Boeing celebrates the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line in Renton
FILE PHOTO: Boeing employees are pictured in front of a 737 MAX 8 produced for Southwest Airlines as Boeing celebrates the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

March 14, 2019

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Thursday it was pausing deliveries of its 737 MAX aircraft to customers following the grounding of the jetliner around the world, as the world’s largest planemaker responds to its worst crises in years.

The 737 MAX has been banned from flying in most countries after an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. This was a second deadly incident involving the relatively new Boeing model in five months. In October, a Lion Air jet crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX jetliner built at its factory near Seattle because of the temporary grounding order by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, confirming a Reuters report from Wednesday.

“We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

Boeing said it would continue its production rate of 52 aircraft per month, though its MAX version would not be delivered to airlines or leasing companies.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 14, 2019

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The fall in Boeing shares has made the stock’s valuation less expensive but that may not make it an obvious buy for investors.

The planemaker’s shares have fallen 11 percent this week after a Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed 157 people prompted the grounding of Boeing’s global 737 MAX fleet. Boeing shares were down 0.5 percent $375.09 on Thursday afternoon.

The declines come after a run for Boeing shares that saw the price more than double over the past two years, making the company the largest U.S. industrial firm by market value.

GRAPHIC-Boeing’s soaring market value: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Cv0UyP

GRAPHIC-Boeing shares double over 2 years: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CiV8zY

This week’s slide means the stock as of Wednesday was trading at about 18.2 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, according to Refinitiv data. That valuation is in line with its average forward P/E ratio over the past five years and well below the 20.5 times the stock was trading at a week ago.

But whether that means the stock is actually cheap at these levels could depend on the extent of the financial fallout from the crash, which investors and analysts were still assessing.

For example, according to Refinitiv data, the consensus analyst estimate for Boeing’s earnings per share this year, which calls for 26 percent growth, has not changed this week amid the evolving fallout for the company.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for “weeks” at a minimum until a software upgrade could be tested and installed in all of the planes, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday.

Nancy Tengler, chief investment strategist at Tengler Wealth Management in Phoenix, which bought shares more than three years ago and has since seen the stock climb, said she was neither selling nor buying the stock this week.

“It’s fully-valued, based on what we know,” Tengler said. “If people start yanking orders … then the valuation might be a little bit high.”

“This is going to be one of those restarts for the company,” she added.

GRAPHIC – Boeing valuation: https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6oKWa

Analysts were seeking to determine the bottom-line implications for Boeing, especially since Sunday’s was the second such crash involving the planemaker’s flagship new model in six months.

The 737 MAX is Boeing’s largest contributor of product revenue and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), according to Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak.

Poponak estimates the MAX jet will account for 45 percent of total Boeing EBIT over the next five years.

“We believe investors were pricing in very limited risk to the 737 ramp-up profile, which now has greater risk within the wide range of possible outcomes following these incidents,” Poponak said in a research note.

JP Morgan analyst Seth Seifman said the situation could hurt Boeing’s cash flow in three ways: compensation of airlines for grounded planes; delays of deliveries of the jet; and any modifications for the aircraft.

“The situation will hopefully move forward sooner rather than later, with a path back into service, though we do not know how long this will take,” Seifman said in a note.

Even with the latest uncertainty and declines, Boeing shares were up 16 percent in 2019 as of Thursday afternoon.

Through Wednesday, Boeing shares had contributed more to the 10.2-percent gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2019 than any of the other 30 components of the blue-chip index, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Following Wednesday’s decision by U.S. aviation regulators to ground the planes, Boeing shares appeared to be stabilizing, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“It seems like the worst is over for Boeing, and the fact that the U.S. fleet is grounded means they have time to come up with for a fix for this,” Ghriskey said.

GRAPHIC – Boeing leads the Dow higher in 2019: https://tmsnrt.rs/2FcTmT4

GRAPHIC-Boeing leads the Dow in 2019: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CfZisf

(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; editing by Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

A logo of Airbus is seen on a flag at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac
FILE PHOTO: A logo of Airbus is seen on a flag at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

March 14, 2019

By John Irish

NAIROBI (Reuters) – There are encouraging signs that European planemaker Airbus is closing in on a long-negotiated deal with China for dozens of new narrow-body jets, an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

The official said there were hopes Airbus would nail down the multibillion-dollar order when President Xi Jinping visits Europe later this month, but acknowledged there would unlikely be confirmation until the eleventh hour.

“The talks are ongoing,” the official said. “It will be difficult to know for sure until the day before, but the signs are positive.”

China has become a key hunting ground for Airbus and its leading rival Boeing, thanks to surging travel demand, but the outlook has been complicated by Beijing’s desire to grow its own industrial champions and, more recently for Boeing, the U.S.-China trade war.

Macron unexpectedly failed to clinch the Airbus order during a trip to China in early 2018 and the French government and Airbus have been working since to salvage it.

Macron said at the time that China would buy 184 A320 narrow-body jets, an order worth $18 billion at list prices.

The Elysee Palace official also said Airbus was discussing a new order with Ethiopian Airlines. The official gave no details on the size of the potential new Ethiopian order but cited the long-range A350, a model which Ethiopian already operates, and the single-aisle A320 jet as aircraft of interest to the airline.

Macron and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed discussed the negotiations during Macron’s visit to Addis Ababa on Tuesday, two days after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed after taking off, killing all 157 people on board.

Industry analysts played down a possible link between any current negotiations and Sunday’s crash. Ethiopian has been undertaking a major fleet expansion and regularly talks to the market, they said, adding that order talks take time.

(Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

A view shows the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget
A view shows the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. The black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 arrived in France on Thursday. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

March 14, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – It may take several days to complete the first readings of the black boxes recovered from the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed after take-off, a spokesman for the French air accident investigation agency conducting the analysis said on Thursday.

The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) said it would receive the flight data and cockpit voice recorders later in the day, after an apparent tussle over where the investigation should be held.

The BEA spokesman said he did not know what condition the black boxes were in. “First we will try to read the data,” the he said, adding that the first analyses could take anywhere between several hours and several days.

Much will depend on how damaged the black boxes are.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 careered into the ground shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, breaking up into small fragments and carving a deep crater.

Boeing will be hoping for quick answers from the investigation. Satellite data has indicated similarities in the flight profile with another 737 MAX aircraft which plunged into the seas off Indonesia five months ago, prompting aviation authorities around the world to ground the MAX model.

Boeing maintains its planes are safe, but the second calamity to hit the next-generation workhorse of the Boeing fleet has wiped nearly $26 billion off the company’s market value.

Since the Indonesia crash, there has been much scrutiny on an automated anti-stall system in the MAX model that pushes the plane’s nose down.

(Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN


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