Boeing completes 737 MAX software update, works on pilot training plan

The Boeing 737 aircraft family is the best-selling airliner of all time with more than 15,000 aircraft ordered. (Reuters)
Updated 17 May 2019

Boeing completes 737 MAX software update, works on pilot training plan

  • Aviation regulators from other countries will have to assess Boeing’s proposed fixes and clear the aircraft to fly
  • Boeing hopes the software upgrade and associated pilot training will add layers of protection

Boeing said on Thursday it had completed a software update for its 737 MAX jets, which have been grounded worldwide since March after they were involved in two fatal crashes.
The planemaker said it was in the process of submitting a plan on pilot training to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and would work with the regulator to schedule its certification test flight.
The FAA is planning a meeting on May 23 in Fort Worth, Texas, with regulators from around the world to update them on reviews of Boeing’s software fix and on pilot training.
Aviation regulators from other countries will have to assess Boeing’s proposed fixes and clear the aircraft to fly in other regions independently of the FAA.
It is unclear when the 737 MAX aircraft will return to service, but US airlines have said they hope the jets will fly this summer.
Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc, the two largest US operators of the MAX, have pulled the jets from their schedules until Aug. 5 and Aug 19, respectively.
The airlines, which must still decide on pilot training, have said they would use the jets as spare planes if they are approved for flight before those dates.
The FAA said on Thursday that Boeing had not yet submitted its final software package for approval.
On Wednesday, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said he expected Boeing to make its formal submission for its software update in the next week or so.
The 737 MAX was grounded following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board just five months after a similar crash of a Lion Air flight killed 189 people.
Boeing hopes the software upgrade and associated pilot training will add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data from triggering a system called MCAS, which was activated in both the planes before they crashed.
The planemaker said it had completed simulator testing and engineering test flights as well as developed training and education materials, which were now being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and airline customers.
To date, Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with updated software for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said.


Russian and Chinese investors in talks about Saudi Aramco IPO involvement

Updated 14 October 2019

Russian and Chinese investors in talks about Saudi Aramco IPO involvement

  • The initial public offering of the world’s biggest oil company is reaching a critical phase

RIYADH: Russian and Chinese investors are keen to get involved in the international element of the forthcoming initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Dmitriev told Arab News: “I would say that some Russian investors are interested. For the sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) to get invest in the Aramco IPO is still under discussion. We also have our Russia-China Investment Fund, and we have interest from Chinese investors to get involved in the Aramco IPO. We are still in discussion with our Chinese partners, and with our Russian investors.

“We are thinking what would be the different opportunities, given the interests of China and given the interest of some of the Russian investors. We will have to see how some of the details go, and nothing has been finalized, but there is definitely interest from some Russian and Chinese investors,” Dmitriev added.

The IPO of the world’s biggest oil company is reaching a critical phase, with some observers expecting the formal announcement of a listing on Tadawul just days away. Having a foreign sovereign investor, as well as a listing on a foreign stock exchange, could be a part of the later strategy to sell around 5 per cent of the state-owned company to private investors.

Dmitriev was speaking on the sidelines of the Saudi Russia CEO Forum in Riyadh, a meeting of top businessmen for both countries to coincide with the visit of President Putin.