No firm date for 737 MAX to fly again, says Europe air safety regulator

No firm date for 737 MAX to fly again, says Europe air safety regulator
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. Boeing is facing massive losses after two fatal crashes. Reuters/File)
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Updated 05 August 2020

No firm date for 737 MAX to fly again, says Europe air safety regulator

No firm date for 737 MAX to fly again, says Europe air safety regulator

BRUSSELS: Europe’s air safety watchdog has no firm date for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX to resume flights, it said on Tuesday, adding that the US planemaker had some more work to do before a 17-month-old safety ban could be lifted in Europe.

The US Federal Aviation Administration on Monday issued a proposed directive requiring four design or operating changes in the wake of two fatal 737 MAX crashes, in a move which could lead to the agency lifting a grounding order on the jet later this year.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) declined to comment directly on the FAA documents, but said it was still waiting to conduct its own test flights before the commercial ban could be lifted in Europe.
“We are still working to conduct our test flights, scheduling of which has been hampered by the travel restrictions due to COVID-19,” a spokeswoman said by email.
“The test flights are a prerequisite for EASA to approve the return to service of the 737 MAX in Europe.”
EASA reiterated it would only return the aircraft to service once it felt it was safe.
“In general, good progress has been made but there is still some work which Boeing needs to complete,” the spokeswoman said.
“In the light of this position, and in common with the FAA, we cannot yet predict a firm schedule for the return to service and the ungrounding of the aircraft in Europe.”

SPEEDREAD

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it was still waiting to conduct its own test flights before the commercial ban could be lifted in Europe.

EASA scrutiny is one of a number of hurdles to a widespread return to service, including getting Canadian approval and a public comment period of 45 days on the FAA’s proposed changes, as well as finalizing a new set of pilot-training procedures.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told analysts last week he expected MAX deliveries to resume in the fourth quarter, comments that were interpreted as a suggesting that the US return to service could slip into next year.
In a related development, Kuwait’s aircraft leasing company Alafco said on Tuesday it will buy fewer aircraft from Boeing after reaching an agreement to end its legal claim over a canceled 737 MAX order.
Alafco was suing the US planemaker for $336 million over accusations it wrongly refused to return advance payments on a canceled order for 40 of its troubled 737 MAX planes.
The Kuwaiti lessor will now buy 20 aircraft from Boeing, instead of 40, with new delivery dates, it said in a bourse filing.
Additional details of the agreement could not be disclosed due to confidentiality clauses, it said.
Alafco said it was “looking forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with Boeing.”
Boeing suspended deliveries of its narrow-body 737 MAX jet in March last year, when the FAA grounded the aircraft after the deaths of 346 people in crashes of two 737 MAX planes operated by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
The crisis over the grounding of the once top-selling 737 MAX has cost the US planemaker more than $19 billion, slashed production and hobbled its supply chain, with criminal and congressional investigations still ongoing.


Saudi small traders can accept payment with their phones

Saudi small traders can accept payment with their phones
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi small traders can accept payment with their phones

Saudi small traders can accept payment with their phones
  • The “Tap to phone” solution uses near-field communication technology to allow these businesses to accept payments via their smartphone devices

DUBAI: Saudi Payments, owned by the Saudi Central Bank, has partnered with Visa to launch a low-cost contactless payment technology for small and micro-businesses.
The “Tap to phone” solution uses near-field communication technology to allow these businesses to accept payments via their smartphone devices, without having to invest in a separate point of sale device.
The move is in line with Saudi Arabia’s goal to modernize its financial system by making innovation accessible to all segments of society.
“This step enhances the Kingdom’s financial technology capabilities and is congruent with Saudi Vision 2030’s nation-wide drive for digitization,” said Fahad Al-Akeel, Saudi Payments managing director.
He said contactless payments have since grown in popularity as people avoid physical touch points amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has made it critical for all businesses to expand their payment methods beyond cash, as consumers expect and prefer secure and seamless cashless payment methods wherever they shop,” Visa’s country manager, Ali Bailoun, said.
He said more than 50 percent of small businesses in the Kingdom showed keen interest in low-cost acceptance solutions, citing a recent Visa study.
“We are excited to partner with Saudi Payments to bring this innovative digital payment solution to merchants in Saudi Arabia and help accelerate the Kingdom’s digital transformation goals,” he added.


New Fairmont to open in Al-Khobar amid hotel building boom

New Fairmont to open in Al-Khobar amid hotel building boom
Updated 21 June 2021

New Fairmont to open in Al-Khobar amid hotel building boom

New Fairmont to open in Al-Khobar amid hotel building boom
  • With an opening date expected for 2023, the hotel will feature 160 rooms and serviced apartments

RIYADH: Accor is set to open a new Fairmont property in Saudi Arabia on the Ajdan Waterfront development in Al-Khobar.
With an opening date expected for 2023, the hotel will feature 160 rooms and serviced apartments.
"This prestigious destination is known to be one of the most desirable leisure attractions for visitors and residents of the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia,” said Abdullah AlFozan, chairman of Ajdan Real Estate Development Company.
Saudi Arabia has the world’s biggest hotel pipeline, according to STR data. The hotel research group said the country’s expected 67.1 percent increase in room supply over the next three years is the highest among the 50 most populated countries.
The new Fairmont planned for Al-Khobar will be part of the Ajdan Waterfront mixed-use development, featuring retail, commercial, residential, and entertainment components. It will be located close to the Saudi Aramco headquarters as well as the King Abdulaziz Cultural Centre and Airbase, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, and various malls and attractions in the city.
It is also in the vicinity of the King Fahd Causeway, which connects thousands of passengers from Al-Khobar to Bahrain.
Accor currently operates 39 properties with 14,314 rooms in the Kingdom with a pipeline of 33 properties.


Abu Dhabi pledges $9.5m to fund development projects in Comoros

Abu Dhabi pledges $9.5m to fund development projects in Comoros
Updated 21 June 2021

Abu Dhabi pledges $9.5m to fund development projects in Comoros

Abu Dhabi pledges $9.5m to fund development projects in Comoros
  • The fund will be used in key projects in education, health, and agriculture

DUBAI: The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has allocated 35 million dirhams ($9.5 million) to support the UAE’s ongoing development efforts in the African island-nation Comoros.
The fund will be used in key projects in education, health, and agriculture, state news agency WAM reported, under the “Mother of the Nation” development program, led by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC).
About 4.5 million dirhams will fund a garment manufacturing unit to provide livelihood to families in the island; 10 million dirhams will be used to build a student dormitory; and 13 million for two women and children-focused health centers.
The rest of the fund will be channeled into agriculture and livestock projects, and construction of a school.
“Through this agreement, we seek to support sustainable development and improve the living standards of the people of the Comoros by ensuring their access to basic services in collaboration with ERC,” the ADFD’s director-general, Saif Al-Suwaidi, said.
The UAE’s commitment to Comoros dates back to the late 1970s, and the ADFD has since given 436 million dirhams in development aid to the African country.


Arabtec Holding and units bankruptcy approved by Dubai court

Arabtec Holding and units bankruptcy approved by Dubai court
Updated 21 June 2021

Arabtec Holding and units bankruptcy approved by Dubai court

Arabtec Holding and units bankruptcy approved by Dubai court
  • The court last week approved the liquidation of Arabtec and its six subsidiaries

RIYADH: A Dubai court has approved the opening of bankruptcy proceedings for Arabtec Holding and six of its units.
The court last week approved the liquidation of Arabtec and its six subsidiaries namely, Arabtec Construction Abu Dhabi, Arabtec Construction Dubai, Austrian Arabian Ready Mix Concrete (AAC) and Arabtec Precast, in addition to Emirates Falcon Electromechanical Co (EFECO) Abu Dhabi and EFECO Dubai.
The court appointed a trustee for each of the entities and ordered them to publish the bankruptcy decision of each one, review its debts, deposit a record of its creditors, and conduct all the procedures stipulated under the bankruptcy law, within 35 days, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
The court also instructed each trustee to prepare an initial separate report on the assets of each entity and its rights with third parties.
It stopped all judicial and execution procedures on the companies’ assets until approving the restructuring plan or the lapse of 10 months from the date of the decision to open the bankruptcy proceedings.
The court scheduled the next hearing for July 26.


Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi’s biggest trading partner in 2020, data shows

Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi’s biggest trading partner in 2020, data shows
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi’s biggest trading partner in 2020, data shows

Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi’s biggest trading partner in 2020, data shows
  • Imports hit 11.47 billion dirhams, while exports and re-exports stood at around 33 billion dirhams between the pair

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s trade with Saudi Arabia reached over 44.43 billion dirhams ($12.1 billion) in 2020, making the Kingdom its biggest trading partner during the year.
Imports hit 11.47 billion dirhams, while exports and re-exports stood at around 33 billion dirhams between the pair, state news agency WAM reported, citing customs data.
The UAE capital’s total non-oil foreign trade was recorded at 201.2 million dirhams during the same period, mainly attributed to its solid logistical infrastructure, especially amid the global health crisis.
Digital capabilities of Abu Dhabi Customs were enhanced during the pandemic, with digital custom transactions hitting over a million in the span of a year.
“This achievement came in line with the automation of all customs services and the digital completion of customs clearance processes and transactions,” according to a statement.