Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

Daimler is under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2018
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Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Daimler has temporarily halted deliveries of a truck engine after finding that, in certain driving conditions, its emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) could exceed legal limits, the company said on Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Daimler, responding to a report in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, said it had informed Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority of the issue last month and was in a “constructive” dialogue.
German automakers have been under intense scrutiny since the “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, in which Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software steering its diesel engines to cheat emissions tests.
Volkswagen reached a multi-billion-dollar settlement in the United States, but the scandal continues to reverberate in Germany where the head of its Audi unit, Rupert Stadler, has been arrested in a separate investigation.
Daimler is also under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive, called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone.
Germany’s Transport Ministry said last month that 774,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe had been found to contain unauthorized “defeat” devices and ordered Daimler to recall 238,000 cars in Germany.
In the latest case, Bild am Sonntag reported that Daimler had found during internal checks that software running the OM 501 truck engine would, in certain circumstances, stop the injection of AdBlue.
In a statement, Daimler said the report was misleading and that the engine’s on-board diagnosis system was designed to switch off the flow of AdBlue in unusual circumstances such as when the engine was running on biodiesel.
This would prevent excessive injections of AdBlue leading to the release of ammonia, which in high concentrations can act as a respiratory irritant.
“In the course of regulator tests, Daimler AG found isolated situations when a six-cylinder heavy-truck engine of the Euro V standard slightly exceeded the relevant NOx limits,” the company said.
Daimler said it had undertaken a detailed analysis of the findings and informed the Federal Motor Transport Authority at the end of June.
The motor was sold in Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe until 2013, and is currently on sale only outside Europe. “Until the technical issues are clarified, the company has taken a precautionary decision no longer to deliver this engine,” Daimler said.


Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors. (Reuters)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

  • More than 20,000 people are employed in the company
  • The company had to stop more than 50% of their aircraft due to insufficient funds

MUMBAI: India's Jet Airways was fighting multiple crises Wednesday after grounding six planes, leaving it with only a third of its fleet flying, while pilots have threatened to walk out and a major shareholder is reportedly looking to offload its huge stake.

The problems at India's number-two carrier come as other airlines struggle to turn a profit despite the sector rapidly expanding in the country over recent years.

Jet, which employs more than 20,000 people, is gasping under debts of more than $1 billion and has now been forced to ground a total of 78 of its 119 aircraft after failing to pay lenders and aircraft lessors.

In a statement late Tuesday announcing its latest grounding, the firm it said it was "actively engaging" with lenders to secure fresh liquidity and wanted to "minimise disruption".

But with hundreds of customers left stranded, Jet's social media accounts have been flooded with often suddenly stranded passengers demanding information, new flight tickets and refunds.

"@jetairways We book our flights in advance so that we save on travel cost and you are sending cancellation (message) now?", read one irate tweet on Wednesday.

"I have sent a DM (direct message) regarding my ticket details. Please respond!", said Sachin Deshpande, according to his Twitter profile a design engineer.

Another, Ankit Maloo, wrote: "Received an email for all together cancellation of flight days before departure without any prior intimation or communication over phone!"

The firm is also facing pressure from its many pilots who have not been paid on time, with unions threatening they will walk off the job if salaries do not arrive soon.

"Pilots will stop flying jet planes from 1st April 2019 if the company does not disburse due salaries and take concrete decisions," a spokesperson for the National Aviator's Guild, a pilots union, told AFP.

India's aviation regulator on Tuesday warned Jet Airways to ensure that staffers facing stress are not forced to operate flights.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates has offered to sell its 24 percent stake in Jet to State Bank of India (SBI).

A collapse would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pragmatic pro-business reputation ahead of elections starting on April 11.

India's passenger numbers have rocketed six-fold over the past decade with its middle-class taking advantage of better connectivity and cheaper flights.

The country's aviation sector is projected to become the world's third-largest by 2025.

But like other carries, Mumbai-based Jet has been badly hit by fluctuating global crude prices, a weak rupee and fierce competition from budget rivals.

Alarm bells for Jet first rang in August when it failed to report its quarterly earnings or pay its staff, including pilots, on time. It then later reported a loss of $85 million.

In February, it secured a $1.19 billion bailout from lenders including SBI to bridge a funding gap, but the crisis has since deepened.

"Jet Airways is rapidly reaching a point of no return and running out of assets to keep itself afloat," Devesh Agarwal, editor of the Bangalore Aviation website, told AFP.

"The only solution is equity expansion by diluting its stakes but Jet is just trying to cut losses and running out of options," Agarwal said.

Shares in Jet Airways were down more than five percent on Wednesday.