United Airlines cancels Boeing 737 MAX flights until January 6

A United Airlines logo is seen behind the ticket counter at Chicago's O'Hare airport. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 October 2019

United Airlines cancels Boeing 737 MAX flights until January 6

  • Among other US airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co. has canceled flights through January 5
  • The fast-selling 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing Co. updates flight control software

WASHINGTON: United Airlines Holdings Inc. said on Friday it is extending cancelations of Boeing 737 MAX flights until January 6, as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane.
The company said it expects to cancel more than 8,000 flights for October, November, December and the first few days of January and that it will monitor regulatory updates and make adjustments accordingly.
Among other US airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co. has canceled flights through January 5, while American Airlines Group Inc. has extended cancelations of Boeing 737 MAX flights through January 15.
“We have cooperated fully with the FAA’s independent review of the MAX aircraft, and we won’t put our customers and employees on that plane until regulators make their own independent assessment that it is safe to do so,” the company said in a statement.
The fast-selling 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing Co. updates flight control software at the center of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.
Boeing is planing a revision of the 737 MAX software to take input from both of its angle-of-attack sensors in the anti-stall system linked to the two deadly crashes and has added additional safeguards.
The company is also addressing a flaw discovered in the software architecture of the 737 MAX flight-control system involving using and receiving input from the plane’s two flight control computers rather than one.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson told Reuters in September that the agency will need about a month following the yet-to-be scheduled certification test flight before the planes could return to service.
Reuters reported this week that the flight is not expected before November 1, as the FAA continues to review software changes, meaning the FAA is unlikely to allow its return until late November or December at the earliest.


Virtual certainty? Bankers ask if success of remote roadshows will last

Updated 10 min 21 sec ago

Virtual certainty? Bankers ask if success of remote roadshows will last

  • All over the world, companies and their advisers have given up on the traditional multi-city investor roadshow

HONG KONG: Who needs expensive lunches at glitzy hotels and fancy restaurants to court investors for bond deals or the sale of new shares on the stock exchange?

In a world governed by quarantine and social distancing rules, even lead managers on multi-billion dollar deals have had to curtail travel and drop the personal touch in favor of video conferences and phone calls to woo potential investors.

Warner Music Group is one of more than a dozen companies that launched an initial public offering (IPO) in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and saw its shares soar on the first day trading. “The wear from a virtual roadshow is much less than the wear and tear on the old normal roadshow. I was pleasantly surprised,” Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper said following this company’s IPO this week.

Some investors were also happy with the switch, because they saved time traveling to meetings with companies and their IPO advisers.

“When you meet face-to-face, you have to get everyone together into the lift, some people need to get their Starbucks … that one hour turns into one-and-a-half hours,” said Khiem Do, head of Greater China investments at Barings in Hong Kong.

All over the world, companies and their advisers have given up on the traditional multi-city investor roadshow — lasting up to two weeks — in favor of virtual sessions that only last a few days.

So far the change has worked. US IPOs excluding those of special purpose acquisition companies have yielded average gains of 35 percent, according to data firm IPOScoop. The S&P 500 Index has risen only around 6.6 percent in that period.

“In New York City you would normally do six or seven one-on-one meetings plus a group event. Boston is about the same. Now you can do at least nine in a day with no travel time,” said Taylor Wright, co-head of US equity capital markets at Barclays.

However, Wright and other bankers questioned whether virtual roadshows will completely replace physical gatherings when the pandemic subsides. They said that many companies behind the IPOs of the last few weeks had warmed up investors in person before the pandemic, and younger companies may not be able to court investors only virtually.

“If roadshows cannot carry on, I feel some investors won’t be willing to invest as happily,” said Zhenro Properties chief financial officer Kenny Chan, speaking in mid-May.