Boeing finds a new issue with 737 MAX aircraft

Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft were grounded around the world last March after two crashes killed 346 people. (AFP)
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Updated 19 February 2020

Boeing finds a new issue with 737 MAX aircraft

  • The fuel tank debris was discovered during maintenance on parked planes
  • Boeing built about 400 undelivered MAX jets before it temporarily halted production last month

Boeing said Tuesday that it found debris contaminating the fuel tanks of some 737 MAX jets that it built in the past year but was unable to deliver to airline customers.
A Boeing official said the debris was discovered in “several” planes but did not give a precise number. Boeing built about 400 undelivered MAX jets before it temporarily halted production last month.
The fuel tank debris was discovered during maintenance on parked planes, and Boeing said it immediately made corrections in its production system to prevent a recurrence. Those steps include more inspections before fuel tanks are sealed.
A Boeing spokesman said that the issue would not change the company’s belief that the Federal Aviation Administration will certify the plane to fly again this summer.
An FAA spokesman said the agency knows that Boeing is conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered MAX planes.
The FAA “increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings,” said spokesman Lynn Lunsford.
Metal shavings, tools and other objects left in planes during assembly can raise the risk of electrical short-circuiting and fires.
Mark Jenks, Boeing’s general manager of the 737 program, said in a memo to employees who work on the 737, “During these challenging times, our customers and the flying public are counting on us to do our best work each and every day.”
Jenks called the debris “absolutely unacceptable. One escape is one too many.”
The debris issue was first reported by aviation news site Leehamnews.com.
MAX jets were grounded around the world last March after two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing is conducting test flights to assess updates to a flight-control system that activated before the crashes on faulty signals from sensors outside the plane, pushing the noses of the aircraft down and triggering spirals that pilots were unable to stop.
While investigators examining the MAX accidents have not pointed to production problems at the assembly plant near Seattle, Boeing has faced concerns about debris left in other finished planes including the 787 Dreamliner, which is built in South Carolina.


Kuwait props up coronavirus-hit economy amid low oil prices

Updated 01 April 2020

Kuwait props up coronavirus-hit economy amid low oil prices

  • Kuwait was first Gulf state to halt passenger flights and impose a partial curfew to stem the spread of coronavirus
  • Kuwait has drawn down on its state fund, the General Reserve Fund, to cover its deficit

KUWAIT: Kuwait announced measures early on Wednesday aimed at shoring up its economy against the coronavirus pandemic, including soft long-term loans from local banks, and the central bank asked banks to ease loan repayments for companies affected.
Kuwait, which as of March 31 had registered 289 coronavirus cases, was the first Gulf state to halt passenger flights and impose a partial curfew to stem the spread of the highly infectious respiratory illness.
The sectors most impacted by the pandemic include aviation, hospitality and real estate, a government source told Reuters.
The stimulus package approved by the cabinet aims to provide liquidity for small- and medium-sized enterprises to meet their obligations, a government spokesman said.
That includes directing government agencies to pay obligations to the private sector as soon as possible.
The central bank separately has asked lenders to postpone loan repayments for three months for companies hit by the crisis, the governor, Mohammad Al-Hashel, said in a television interview posted by the central bank on Twitter.
Kuwait is also dealing with the impact of lower oil prices on its finances that is expected to lead to a higher government fiscal deficit this year.
The government source said that, in light of the oil price fall, passing a debt law allowing Kuwait to borrow more has become a “government priority.”
Kuwait has drawn down on its state fund, the General Reserve Fund, to cover its deficit. The source said the government withdrew 43.8 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($139.70 billion) in the five years until the 2018-2019 fiscal year, and 3.7 billion dinars in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
This means the fund has around 14 billion dinars ($44.65 billion) left, the source said.
Moody’s this week placed Kuwait’s Aa2 rating on review for a downgrade, citing a “significant” decline in government revenues.
The government spokesman said maintaining Kuwait’s credit rating was one of the goals of the new economic measures.