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.


Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

Updated 23 February 2020

Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

DUBAI: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said on Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy.
Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances.
"We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues," he said in the televised speech.
"We will also direct all government departments to adopt efficient governance that leads to a balanced, diversified and sustainable economy."
Rated junk by all three major credit rating agencies, Oman's debt to GDP ratio spiked to nearly 60% last year from around 15% in 2015, and could reach 70% by 2022, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The small oil producing country has relied heavily on debt to offset a widening deficit caused by lower crude prices. Also, the late Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for nearly 50 years, held back on austerity measures.
The country has delayed introducing a 5% value added tax from 2019 to 2021, and economic diversification has been slow, with oil and gas accounting for over 70% of government revenues.
Last week, rating agency Fitch said Oman was budgeting for a higher deficit of 8.7% for 2020 despite its expectation of further asset-sale proceeds and some spending cuts.
"We are willing to take the necessary measures to restructure the state's administrative system and its legislation," Haitham said in his first speech since the mourning period for Qaboos ended, without elaborating.
He said there would be a full review of government companies to improve their business performance and competence.
Oman observers have said that if Haitham moves to decentralise power it would signal willingness to improve decision making. Like Qaboos, he holds the positions of finance minister and central bank chairman as well as premier, defence and foreign minister.