Miscellaneous

Blood money again improving flight safety. So far the latest two Boeing accidents have resulted in 78 different safety actions within FAA, Boeing, affected airlines and elsewhere where deemed necessary, all in the effort of blocking every possibility of that particular accident ever happening again. One such action included removing the AoA (angle of attack) repair license for a company in Florida.

Boeings tab for the MAX blunder 9 billion USD, and counting. The low-cost airlines negative impact on the airline industry finances in general has among other things affected fuel reserves (proven by two recent accidents), pilot training (proven over and over, incl. the two MAX accidents) and duty times (numerous fatigue related incidents). It has also reached the factory floor, where Boeings cost-cutting ambitions might set a new world record for a costly misguided savings program.

Not only cell-phones. China keeps competing on an un-level playing field. Not only have both Airbus and Boeing assembly plants in China, where Chinese technicians can learn most of what they need to know. The rest China needs to know, they get by state encouraged high level hacking. Billions of dollars and several years have been saved in developing their own aircraft industry. The C919 is a relatively new narrow-body jet built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or COMAC for short. It might even be good. Time for market entry uncertain.

Bankruptcy. Germania is one of a rapidly growing list of European airlines to fail in the past two years. In 2017, two large European carriers went bankrupt in quick succession: Monarch in the UK, Air Berlin. Alitalia would have been added to that list, had not the Italian government intervened. Last autumn, a number of smaller airlines failed: Latvia-based Primera Air, Cobalt Air of Cyprus, Germany’s Azur Air, Lithuania’s Small Planet Airlines and the Swiss SkyWork. Fuel prices, weak Euro against USD are blamed but the major factor is the increase of the capacity of the low-cost sector (11% last quarter 2018). Ryanair reported its first loss since 2014 (€22M), Norwegian and Wizz are also in trouble.

Maintenance. An other new area also affected by cost-cutting is aircraft overhaul. Airline mechanics say they feel pressured by management to look the other way when they see potential safety problems on airplanes, an eight-month-long CBS News investigation reveals. In some of the cases, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agreed with those mechanics. ”Accident waiting to happen” They blame it on an economic reality of the airline business: a plane only makes an airline money when it’s flying passengers. Whistleblowers working for Southwest Airline – a hard core low-cost company, also the first one – are allegedly risking their employment status.

Otherwise, things are fine…….

Not so much in general aviation. The number of accidents of accidents during 2017 was 1.316 (one thousand three hundred and sixteen). And that was and improvement – by 19 from previous year. They also managed to kill only 350 compared to 412 in 2016. Since planes seldom fall apart these days, the comparison with the next to zero accidents in the airline industry, the facts says something about the value of pilot training – and testing.

 

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