Plane crash kills all 157 on board


Wire Reports



In this Dec. 15, 2018, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, invited guests take photos of the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane deliver to Air China during a ceremony at Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province. China's civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday, March 11, 2019 after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The authority said the one-day action was made out of safety concerns because the crash was similar to one in Indonesia last year. (Xu Yu/Xinhua via AP)

In this Dec. 15, 2018, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, invited guests take photos of the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane deliver to Air China during a ceremony at Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province. China's civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday, March 11, 2019 after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The authority said the one-day action was made out of safety concerns because the crash was similar to one in Indonesia last year. (Xu Yu/Xinhua via AP)


FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, SilkAir's new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is seen through a viewing gallery window parked on the tarmac of Singapore's Changi International Airport. China's civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)


FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo holds a model of an airplane during a press conference on the committee's preliminary findings on their investigation on the crash of Lion Air flight 610, in Jakarta, Indonesia. China's civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)


Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded after crash

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN

Associated Press

Monday, March 11

BEIJING (AP) — Aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes Monday after one crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board.

The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday is drawing renewed scrutiny of the plane just four months after a similar crash of the same model that killed 189 people in Indonesia.

Chicago-based Boeing said it did not intend to issue any new guidance to its customers. It does plan to send a technical team to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max, the newest version of it with more fuel-efficient engines, is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

“Safety is our number one priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved,” the company said in a statement.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines, Asrat Begashaw, said the carrier had grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8 planes until further notice as an “extra safety precaution.”

The airline had been using five new 737 Max 8s and awaiting delivery of 25 more. Asrat said the search for body parts and debris from the crash was continuing.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said that it ordered airlines to ground all 737 Max 8 aircraft, in line with the principle of “zero tolerance for security risks.”

It said it would issue further notices after consulting with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.

Chinese carriers and leasing companies operate 96 Boeing 737 8 MAXs, according to the government, with dozens more believed to be on order. China Southern Airlines is one of Boeing’s biggest customers for the aircraft.

Indonesia also grounded 11 737 Max 8s for inspections to ensure flight safety and that the planes are airworthy, said Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti.

Cayman Airways also said it was temporarily grounding two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Real time flight radar apps showed dozens of the aircraft still operating around the globe.

The head of Indonesia’s national transport safety agency, Soerjanto Thahjono, offered to aid the Ethiopian investigation into Sunday’s crash.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board likewise said it was sending a team to help Ethiopian authorities. Boeing and the U.S. investigative agency are also involved in the probe into the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.

Like the Ethiopian Airlines crash, which happened minutes after the jet’s takeoff from Addis Ababa, the Lion Air jet that crashed off Indonesia had erratic speed during the few minutes it was in the air.

Safety experts cautioned, however, against drawing too many parallels between the two disasters.

“I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,” said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

The situation will be better understood after investigators analyze the Ethiopian plane’s black boxes, said William Waldock, an aviation-safety professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. An airline official said Monday that the black box and cockpit voice recorder had been found, but the box was partially damaged.

Waldock said the way the planes both crashed — a fatal nosedive — was likely to raise suspicion. Boeing will likely look more closely at the flight-management system and automation on the Max, he said.

“Investigators are not big believers in coincidence,” he said.

Boeing has delivered about 350 737 Max planes to scores of airlines and has orders for more than 5,000.

Shares in the company fell more than 9 percent Monday in pre-market trading.

Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said reports of large variations in vertical speed during the Ethiopian jetliner’s ascent were “clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem.”

Other possible causes include engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes, he said.

Ethiopian has a good reputation and the company’s CEO told reporters no problems were spotted before Sunday’s fight. But investigators also will look into the plane’s maintenance, which may have been an issue in the Lion Air crash.

Days after the Indonesian accident, Boeing notified airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down. The automated system kicks in if sensors indicate that a plane is about to lose lift, or go into an aerodynamic stall. Gaining speed by diving can prevent a stall.

The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation, which is to disable the system causing the automatic nose-down movements.

Indonesian investigators are examining whether faulty readings from a sensor might have triggered the automatic nose-down command to the plane, which the Lion Air pilots fought unsuccessfully to overcome.

The Lion Air plane’s flight data recorder showed problems with an airspeed indicator on at least four previous flights, although the airline initially said the problem was fixed.

Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in December that the Max is a safe plane.

Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas, Texas, contributed to this report. Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter

Ethiopian crash victims were aid workers, doctors, students

By The Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Three Austrian physicians. The co-founder of an international aid organization. A career ambassador. The wife and children of a Slovak legislator. A Nigerian-born Canadian college professor, author and satirist. They were all among the 157 people from 35 countries who died Sunday morning when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya. Here are some of their stories.

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Kenya: 32 victims

— Hussein Swaleh, the former secretary general of the Football Kenya Federation, was named as being among the dead by Sofapaka Football Club.

He was due to return home on the flight after working as the match commissioner in an African Champions League game in Egypt on Friday.

— Cedric Asiavugwa, a law student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., was on his way to Nairobi after the death of his fiancee’s mother, the university said in a statement.

Asiavugwa, who was in his third year at the law school, was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. Before he came to Georgetown, he worked with groups helping refugees in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the university said.

At Georgetown, Asiavugwa studied international business and economic law.

The university said Asiavugwa’s family and friends “remembered him as a kind, compassionate and gentle soul, known for his beautifully warm and infectious smile.”

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Canada: 18 victims

—Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian professor with Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, was on his way to a meeting of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Nairobi, John O. Oba, Nigeria’s representative to the panel.

The author of “Naija No Dey Carry Last,” a collection of satirical essays, Adesanmi had degrees from Ilorin and Ibadan universities in Nigeria, and the University of British Columbia. He was director of Carleton’s Institute of African Studies, according to the university’s website. He was also a former assistant professor of comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University.

“Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Carleton’s president and vice chancellor.

Adesanmi was the winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African non-fiction writing in 2010.

Mitchell Dick, a Carleton student who is finishing up a communications honors degree, said he took a first- and second-year African literature course with Adesanmi.

Adesanmi was “extremely nice and approachable,” and stood out for his passion for the subject matter, Dick said.

—Mohamed Hassan Ali confirmed that he had lost his sister and niece.

Ali said his sister, Amina Ibrahim Odowaa, and her five-year-old daughter, Safiya, were on board the jet that went down six minutes after it took off from the Addis Ababa airport on the way to Nairobi, Kenya.

“(She was) a very nice person, very outgoing, very friendly. Had a lot of friends,” he said of his sister, who lived in Edmonton and was travelling to Kenya to visit with relatives.

Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and her daughter Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir

The 33-year-old Edmonton woman and her five year-old daughter were travelling to Kenya to visit with relatives.

A family friend said Odowaa has lived in Edmonton since 2006.

— Derick Lwugi, an accountant with the City of Calgary, was also among the victims, his wife, Gladys Kivia, said. He leaves behind three children, aged 17, 19 and 20, Kivia said.

The couple had been in Calgary for 12 years, and Lwugi had been headed to Kenya to visit both of their parents.

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Ethiopia: 9 victims

— The aid group Save the Children said an Ethiopian colleague died in the crash.

Tamirat Mulu Demessie had been a child protection in emergencies technical adviser and “worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children are safe during humanitarian crises,” the group said in a statement.

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China: 8 victims

—A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Addis Ababa said the Chinese victims included five men and three women, including one person from the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said two United Nations workers were among the eight Chinese killed. Four were working for a Chinese company and two had travelled to Ethiopia for “private matters.”

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Italy: 8 victims

—Paolo Dieci, one of the founders of the International Committee for the Development of Peoples, was among the dead, the group said on its website.

“The world of international cooperation has lost one of its most brilliant advocates and Italian civil society has lost a precious point of reference,” wrote the group, which partners with UNICEF in northern Africa.

UNICEF Italia sent a tweet of condolences over Dieci’s death, noting that CISP, the group’s Italian acronym, was a partner in Kenya, Libya and Algeria.

—Sebastiano Tusa, the Sicilian regional assessor to the Italian Culture Ministry, was en route to Nairobi when the plane crashed, according to Sicilian regional President Nello Musemeci. In a statement reported by the ANSA news agency, Musemeci said he received confirmation from the foreign ministry, which confirmed the news to .

In a tweet, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said it was a day of pain for everyone. He said: “We are united with the relatives of the victims and offer them our heartfelt thoughts.”

Tusa was also a noted underwater archaeologist.

—The World Food Program confirmed that two of the Italian victims worked for the Rome-based U.N. agency.

A WFP spokeswoman identified the victims as Virginia Chimenti and Maria Pilar Buzzetti.

—Three other Italians worked for the Bergamo-based humanitarian agency, Africa Tremila: Carlo Spini, his wife, Gabriella Viggiani and the treasurer, Matteo Ravasio.

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United States: 8 victims

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France: 7 victims

—A group representing members of the African diaspora in Europe is mourning the loss of its co-chairperson and “foremost brother,” Karim Saafi.

A French Tunisian, Saafi, 38, was on an official mission representing the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe, the group announced on its Facebook page.

“Karim’s smile, his charming and generous personality, eternal positivity, and his noble contribution to Youth employment, diaspora engagement and Africa’s socio-economic development will never be forgotten,” the post read. “Brother Karim, we’ll keep you in our prayers.”

Saafi left behind a fiancee.

— Sarah Auffret, a French-British national living in Tromsoe, northern Norway, was on the plane, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators said. Auffret, a staffer, was on the way to Nairobi to talk about a Cleans Seas project in connection with the U.N. Environment Assembly this week, the company said in a statement.

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U.K.: 7 victims

— Joanna Toole, a 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was heading to Nairobi to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly when she was killed.

Father Adrian described her as a “very soft and loving” woman whose “work was not a job — it was her vocation”.

“Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did. We’re still in a state of shock. Joanna was genuinely one of those people who you never heard a bad word about,” he told the DevonLive website.

He also said she used to keep homing pigeons and pet rats and travelled to the remote Faroe Islands to prevent whaling.

Manuel Barange, the director of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations fisheries and aquaculture department, tweeted saying he was “profoundly sad and lost for words” over the death of the “wonderful human being”.

— Joseph Waithaka, a 55-year-old who lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, also died in the crash, his son told the Hull Daily Mail.

Ben Kuria, who lives in London, said his father had worked for the Probation Service, adding: “He helped so many people in Hull who had found themselves on the wrong side of the law.”

Waithaka had dual Kenyan and British citizenship, the BBC reported.

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Egypt: 6 victims

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Germany: 5 victims

—The United Nations migration agency said that one of its staffers, German citizen Anne-Katrin Feigl, was on the plane en route to a training course in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and the plane’s destination.

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India: 4 victims

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Slovakia: 4 victims

—A lawmaker of Slovak Parliament said his wife, daughter and son were killed in the crash. Anton Hrnko, a legislator for the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party, said he was “in deep grief” over the deaths of his wife, Blanka, son, Martin, and daughter, Michala. Their ages were not immediately available.

Martin Hrnko was working for the Bubo travel agency. The agency said he was traveling for his vacation in Kenya.

President Andrej Kiska offered his condolences to Hrnko.

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Sweden: 4 victims

— Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced “with immense shock and grief” that its chief executive Jonathan Seex was among the fatalities.

— The Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders, an international human rights group, said employee Josefin Ekermann, 30, was on board the plane. Ekermann, who worked to support human rights defenders, was on her way to meet Kenyan partner organizations. The group’s executive director, Anders L. Pettersson, says “Josefin was a highly appreciated and respected colleague.”

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Austria: 3 victims

—Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Peter Guschelbauer confirmed that three Austrian doctors in their early 30s were on board the flight. The men were on their way to Zanzibar, he said, but he could not confirm the purpose of their trip.

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Russia: 3 victims

—The Russian Embassy in Ethiopia said that airline authorities had identified its deceased nationals as Yekaterina Polyakova, Alexander Polyakov and Sergei Vyalikov.

News reports identify the first two as husband and wife. State news agency RIA-Novosibirsk cites a consular official in Nairobi as saying all three were tourists.

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Israel: 2 victims

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Morocco: 2 victims

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Poland: 2 victims

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Spain: 2 victims

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Belgium: 1 victim

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Djibouti: 1 victim

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Indonesia: 1 victim

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Ireland: 1 victim

— Irishman Michael Ryan was among the seven dead from the United Nations’ World Food Program, a humanitarian organization distributing billions of rations every year to those in need.

The Rome-based aid worker and engineer known as Mick was formerly from Lahinch in County Clare in Ireland’s west and was believed to be married with two children.

His projects have included creating safe ground for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and assessing the damage to rural roads in Nepal that were blocked by landslides.

His mother, Christine Ryan, told broadcaster RTE that “he had a marvelous vision and he just got there and did it and had great enthusiasm…He never wanted a nine to five job. He put everything into his work.”

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said: “Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme.”

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Mozambique: 1 victim

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Nepal: 1 victim

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Nigeria: 1 victim

—The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it received the news of retired Ambassador Abiodun Oluremi Bashu’s death “with great shock and prayed that the Almighty God grant his family and the nation, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Bashu was born in Ibadan in 1951 and joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1976. He had served in different capacities both at Headquarters and Foreign Missions such as Vienna, Austria, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and Tehran, Iran. He also served as secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

At the time of his death, Bashu was on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa.

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Norway: 1 victim

—The Red Cross of Norway confirmed that Karoline Aadland, a finance officer, was among those on the flight.

Aadland, 28, was originally from Bergen, Norway. The Red Cross said she was traveling to Nairobi for a meeting.

Aadland’s Linkedin page says she had done humanitarian and environmental work. The page says her work and studies had taken her to France, Kenya, South Africa and Malawi.

“People who know me describe me as a resourceful, dedicated and kindhearted person,” she wrote on Linkedin.

The Red Cross says in a news release that it “offers support to the closest family, and to employees who want it,” the organization said in a news release.

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Rwanda: 1 victim

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Saudi Arabia: 1 victim

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Serbia: 1 victim

Serbia’s foreign ministry confirmed that one of its nationals was aboard the plane. The ministry gave no further details, but local media identified the man as 54-year-old Djordje Vdovic.

The Vecernje Novosti daily reported that he worked at the World Food Program.

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Somalia: 1 victim

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Sudan: 1 victim

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Togo: 1 victim

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Uganda: 1 victim

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Yemen: 1 victim

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U.N. passport: 1 victim

FAA’s close ties to Boeing questioned after 2 deadly crashes

By TOM KRISHER, DAVID KOENIG and DEE-ANN DURBIN

AP Business Writers

Friday, March 15

For more than six decades, the Federal Aviation Administration has relied on employees of airplane manufacturers to do government-required safety inspections as planes are being designed or assembled.

But critics say the system, dubbed the “designee program,” is too cozy as company employees do work for an agency charged with keeping the skies safe while being paid by an industry that the FAA is regulating.

“There is a potential conflict of interest,” said Todd Curtis, a former Boeing Co. safety engineer and creator of airsafe.com, a website that focuses on airline safety. “They (the FAA) don’t have the money to do all of the oversight. It’s a question of being practical.”

The FAA’s oversight duties are coming under greater scrutiny after deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets operated by airlines in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing a total of 346 people. The U.S. was nearly alone in allowing the planes to keep flying until it relented on Wednesday after getting satellite evidence showing the crashes may be linked.

The FAA concedes that it doesn’t have resources to keep up with a growing aviation industry, and experts say it lacks the personnel to inspect every component, especially those made in other countries. But the agency says the program’s results speak for themselves. The U.S. has the safest skies in the world. Until April of last year, U.S. passenger airlines had not had a fatality since 2009, while carrying several billion passengers.

But safety experts say it’s time to look into the agency’s relationship with Boeing, based in Chicago. The FAA’s ties to the company were revealed when Boeing and the agency released similar messages shortly after the Indonesian airliner crashed in October and again this week, when the FAA announced that Boeing would upgrade the Max’s flight-control software, said Mary Schiavo, a former Transportation Department inspector general.

With the messages, the FAA “revealed that they were just parroting what Boeing told them,” she said.

The agency needs more people with technical skills to adequately monitor a company that makes machines as sophisticated as today’s jets, she said, contending that it didn’t understand the Max’s flight-control computer program.

“The FAA readily states they don’t understand the 4 million lines of code and the 150 computers,” Schiavo said. “What they do is see that Boeing followed the process, they checked the FAA boxes. The public thinks the FAA has more involvement.”

Indeed, the agency’s own website says that employees of manufacturers can approve design changes and aircraft repairs. “Using designees for routine certification tasks allows the FAA to focus its limited resources on safety critical certification issues,” it says.

Congress will examine the relationship between Boeing and the FAA. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he would hold hearings on the FAA’s process for approving the planes.

The agency’s practice of delegating certification processes has come under scrutiny before. In a 1993 report, the Government Accountability Office warned that the FAA was falling behind the industry in technical competence because of lack of training and delegation of tasks to the manufacturers. The report said 95 percent of certification work for the Boeing 747-400 jetliner was delegated to the manufacturer in 1989. By comparison, 70 to 75 percent of that work was done by the FAA in the early 1980s, the report said.

In a separate report in 2005, the GAO said the FAA had no requirements for evaluating its designated certification workers within the industry. It also had incomplete records about safety violations that occurred during the inspection process.

FAA designees have also run afoul of the law. Last February, Edward Carl Fernandez, an FAA-designated representative in Florida, pleaded guilty to falsely certifying the airworthiness of aviation parts. Between 2010 and 2013, prosecutors said, Fernandez would sign off on parts from an aviation repair company in exchange for bribes.

Checks by the employees, who are paid by the airplane makers, are reviewed by government inspectors. In a 2017 video, FAA Assistant Administrator Peggy Gilligan said the agency had 6,000 engineers and aircraft inspectors overseeing 7,500 designees in aircraft certification and flight standards. Another 4,000 designees are working at FAA-approved companies, like parts suppliers.

Curtis, who worked for Boeing from 1991 to 2000, said the system is designed so that company employees defer to the FAA if they find something wrong.

Peter Goelz, a former NTSB managing director who now is an aviation safety consultant, said the system has worked well for years. “But at times like this, people start to question it,” he said.

He’s not one of them, though, saying that the proof is in the outcome. “We have had the safest aviation system in the world for a long time,” Goelz said. “The size of the bureaucracy you would need to move to a completely ‘gotcha environment’ simply would be unsustainable.”

James Hall, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said he thinks the agency may have gotten complacent.

“We have a good system,” said Hall, the former NTSB chairman, “and sometimes people go to sleep when things are going well. It’s time to wake up.”

Koenig reported from Dallas. Krisher and Durbin reported from Detroit.

French aviation experts see clear links in 2 Boeing crashes

PARIS (AP) — The French civil aviation investigation bureau BEA has concluded there were “clear similarities” between this month’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plane and a Lion Air plane crash last October.

The French bureau said Monday that black box data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight showed the links and will be used for further study.

Ethiopian authorities asked BEA for help in extracting and interpreting the crashed plane’s black boxes because Ethiopia does not have the necessary expertise and technology.

The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau intends to release a preliminary report within 30 days.

Boeing takes hit to its reputation after 2 plane crashes

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ

AP Business Writer

Friday, March 15

NEW YORK (AP) — In an era of unprecedented airline safety, Boeing’s newest version of its best-selling airliner has crashed twice in less than six months, killing 346 people and delivering a massive blow to the company’s reputation.

More than 40 countries either grounded the planes or refused to let them into their airspace after determining that Sunday’s crash of a 737 Max 8 in Ethiopia bore enough similarities to Indonesia’s Lion Air crash of the same model in October. After holding out for several days, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order grounding the planes.

Boeing’s reputation is damaged not only because of the crashes, but also its decision not to voluntarily ground the planes itself as country after country pulled them from the sky.

The company’s finances will take a hit as it faces lawsuits from victims’ families, compensation claims from airlines, delayed revenue from missed plane deliveries and the expense of figuring out what went wrong and then fixing its planes.

But the airline industry has a long history of recovering from tragedy, and experts say the disaster is unlikely to have a lasting impact on Boeing’s brand or finances.

John McDonald, founder of crisis management firm Caeli Communications, was a former flight attendant in charge of communications for TWA when an airliner — also a Boeing — exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island in 1996. McDonald lost colleagues in that crash, which killed 230 people.

“If you look at past history of when they’ve had any issues with aircraft, they fix the problem and they move on,” McDonald said. “It’s very, very traumatic, but aviation safety is built on the blood of victims, and that’s how you learn these lessons. The real challenge is to make sure you understand what the problem is before you start putting in fixes.”

The groundings will have a far-reaching financial impact on Boeing, at least in the short term. There are more than 4,600 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on backlog, and they won’t be delivered until Boeing has fixed any problems and the ban is lifted.

Boeing paused deliveries of the 737 Max, but continues to build the airplanes, said company spokesman Charles Bickers. It is assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints such as where to park the planes while they wait to be delivered, will impact its production system.

Boeing shares were down more than 11 percent this week through Thursday, and had lost about $29 billion in market value. The shares still have outpaced the market in 2019.

In grounding the planes in the U.S., President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the decision “didn’t have to be made, but we thought it was the right decision.”

“Boeing is an incredible company,” Trump said. “They are working very, very hard right now and hopefully they’ll quickly come up with an answer.”

Boeing says it recommended to the FAA to temporarily suspend operations of the entire global fleet out of an abundance of caution and to reassure the public of the aircraft’s safety.

In an internal memo, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told employees he understands “this is difficult for our teams, especially all those who directly support the 737 program,” but added, “we continue to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX and our teams who design, build and support it. This decision doesn’t change that.”

Some analysts say airline customers are unlikely to cancel orders of the plane, which are long-term agreements that can take a decade to fulfill, because those financial agreements are already in place and, other than Airbus, there aren’t competitors offering an alternative to the Boeing 737 Max.

“The bigger and more reputational issue for them is, how do you sell more of those planes in the future?” said Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communications at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “The Lion Air crash puts in motion that something’s wrong, what are we going to do about it, and by the time the Ethiopian plane goes down, it should have been resolved.”

Norwegian Air’s CEO says he will seek compensation from Boeing for the disruption caused by the groundings, and other airlines may follow suit. Whether airlines would be successful with such claims depends on the details of the contracts those carriers have with Boeing, said Dan Rose, partner at Kreindler & Kreindler, an aviation law firm that has represented victims’ families in other crashes.

Southwest has a long history with the 737 and the airliner has a stellar safety record, the airline’s CEO Gary Kelly said Thursday. He said the company’s history with the Max has been phenomenal, and nothing has presented any flight concerns.

While countries around the world grounded the Max 8 ahead of the U.S., some fliers frantically tried to figure out whether they were going to be flying on a Max 8, and if so, how they could switch.

It was Boeing’s job to restore confidence among travelers but by waiting for others to ground the planes, it created the perception that it wasn’t putting the passengers’ safety first, said Joshua Kroon, vice president of Levick Strategic Communications, a crisis communications firm.

“The natural conclusion is they only care about making money, they don’t care about my safety,” Kroon said.

AP Writer Alex Olson contributed to this report.

In this Dec. 15, 2018, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, invited guests take photos of the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane deliver to Air China during a ceremony at Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, east China’s Zhejiang Province. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday, March 11, 2019 after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The authority said the one-day action was made out of safety concerns because the crash was similar to one in Indonesia last year. (Xu Yu/Xinhua via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/03/web1_122475514-081187ebe680418b8a265a7ba7b41d7a.jpgIn this Dec. 15, 2018, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, invited guests take photos of the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane deliver to Air China during a ceremony at Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, east China’s Zhejiang Province. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday, March 11, 2019 after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The authority said the one-day action was made out of safety concerns because the crash was similar to one in Indonesia last year. (Xu Yu/Xinhua via AP)

FILE – In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, SilkAir’s new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is seen through a viewing gallery window parked on the tarmac of Singapore’s Changi International Airport. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/03/web1_122475514-3cdf602065954a3b9802fe043c376d06.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, SilkAir’s new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is seen through a viewing gallery window parked on the tarmac of Singapore’s Changi International Airport. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo holds a model of an airplane during a press conference on the committee’s preliminary findings on their investigation on the crash of Lion Air flight 610, in Jakarta, Indonesia. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/03/web1_122475514-d278e98953c546e79470f0ba90f27f4f.jpgFILE – In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo holds a model of an airplane during a press conference on the committee’s preliminary findings on their investigation on the crash of Lion Air flight 610, in Jakarta, Indonesia. China’s civilian aviation authority has ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the order was issued at 9 a.m. Beijing time Monday, March 11, 2019 and would last nine hours. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

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