American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX-caused cancelations to June 5

American Airlines said Sunday it is extending the cancelations through June 5 from the earlier timeframe of April 24. (AP)
Updated 08 April 2019
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American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX-caused cancelations to June 5

  • The airline acknowledged in a statement that the prolonged cancelations could bring disruption for some travelers
  • The Boeing-made MAX jets have been grounded in the US and elsewhere since mid-March, following two deadly crashes

WASHINGTON: American Airlines is extending by over a month its cancelations of about 90 daily flights as the troubled 737 MAX plane remains grounded by regulators.
American said Sunday it is extending the cancelations through June 5 from the earlier timeframe of April 24. The airline acknowledged in a statement that the prolonged cancelations could bring disruption for some travelers.
The Boeing-made MAX jets have been grounded in the US and elsewhere since mid-March, following two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Airlines that own them have been scrambling other planes to fill some MAX flights while canceling others.
American Airlines Group Inc., the largest US airline by revenue, has 24 MAX jets in its fleet. The Ft. Worth, Texas-based airline said it is awaiting information from US regulators, and will contact customers affected by the cancelations with available re-bookings.
Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration said last week the company needs more time to finish changes in a flight-control system suspected of playing a role in the two crashes. That means airlines could be forced to park their MAX jets longer than they expected.
American said Sunday that by canceling the flights in advance, “we are able to provide better service to our customers with availability and re-booking options,” and to avoid last-minute flight disruptions.
American’s reservations staff will contact affected customers directly by email or phone, the airline said. “We know these cancelations and changes may affect some of our customers, and we are working to limit the impact to the smallest number of customers,” the statement said.
Boeing said Friday that it will cut production of the MAX jet, its best-selling plane, underscoring the mounting financial risk it faces the longer the airliner remains grounded.
Starting in mid-April, Boeing said, it will cut production of the plane to 42 from 52 planes per month so it can focus on fixing the flight-control software that has been implicated in the two crashes.
Preliminary investigations into the deadly accidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia found that faulty sensor readings erroneously triggered an anti-stall system that pushed down the plane’s nose. Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system.
In all, 346 people died in the crashes. Boeing faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by families of the victims.
The announcement to cut production came after Boeing acknowledged that a second software issue has emerged that needs fixing on the MAX — a discovery that explained why the aircraft maker had pushed back its ambitious schedule for getting the planes back in the air.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.