Emirates boss hits out at Boeing over 737 MAX flaws

Emirates boss hits out at Boeing over 737 MAX flaws
Budget carrier flydubai, a sister airline of Emirates, is a major buyer of the narrow-body plane. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Emirates boss hits out at Boeing over 737 MAX flaws

Emirates boss hits out at Boeing over 737 MAX flaws
  • A crisis over crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX had damaged the air travel industry as a whole
  • ‘Boeing need to take a good hard look at themselves; I’m sure they have’

DUBAI: The head of one of Boeing Co’s biggest customers, Dubai’s Emirates, wants the planemaker to demonstrate fundamental changes after producing a flawed 737 MAX jet and has urged it to recognize “culpability and accountability” from the very top.
Influential Emirates President Tim Clark said a crisis over crashes of its 737 MAX had damaged the air travel industry as a whole, but he was confident the redesigned jet was safe.
“Boeing need to take a good hard look at themselves; I’m sure they have,” Clark said.
“But they have to (show) evidence to people like the airline community, the traveling public, that they have made the changes that are required of them in a transparent manner,” he said, while also suggesting a shift of emphasis on financial matters.
“That (can) only be done at board level and executed ... at senior level,” Clark said. “I believe they still have work to do in Boeing to get themselves sorted out ... There is a top-down culpability and accountability and they need to recognize that.”
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The comments from the head of one of the world’s biggest carriers, with Boeing jets worth over $50 billion at list prices on order, are among the most direct airline criticisms since a 20-month ban on MAX flights was lifted in December.
Last week Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion in a deal with federal prosecutors over a fraud conspiracy charge over the MAX’s flawed development.
Clark’s critique, aimed at the highest echelons of the world’s largest aerospace company, stood in contrast to the settlement’s focus on two lower-level Boeing employees who prosecutors say deceived US regulators.
The jet, a staple of short-haul travel across the world, was grounded in March 2019 after crashes linked to flawed software.
“Clearly there were process and practices, attitudes - DNA if you like - that needed to be resolved from the top down. It is pointless shuffling the deck,” Clark said, though he stopped short of laying out precise actions Boeing should take.
Boeing should understand the magnitude of damage to the industry and make “fundamental structural changes,” Clark said.
Since the crashes, Boeing has fired its former chief executive, added a board safety committee and agreed to strengthen internal controls. Boeing however turned for its new CEO to an insider, Dave Calhoun, a long-serving board member.
It says it has learned “many hard lessons” from the crisis.
On Wednesday, Calhoun named Mike Delaney chief aerospace safety officer, a new role.
The US Federal Aviation Administration, which has admitted mistakes during certification, has seen its global leadership tarnished by the crisis.
Clark backed the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for taking a “very hard line” over the re-design.
“This isn’t a sort of motherhood level scrutiny,” he said. “This is a detailed assessment of everything that makes that aircraft fly, then I think it should something that people should be relaxed about flying in.”


Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’
Updated 16 January 2021

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’
  • Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores in more than 30 countries and employs 320,000 people worldwide
  • Canada's Couche-Tard has offered to take over the French supermarket giant for 16 billion euro ($19.5 billion)

PARIS: Canadian convenience store chain Couche-Tard has reportedly pulled out of a multi-billion euro takeover of supermarket giant Carrefour after the French government said it would veto the deal.
Negotiations over the 16 billion euro ($19.5 billion) deal ended after a meeting between the French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and the founder of Couche-Tard Alain Bouchard, Bloomberg news agency said, citing sources.
French ministers had insisted Friday they would not agree to the takeover because it could jeopardize food security, an even more important consideration given the coronavirus pandemic.
In an attempt to reassure ministers, Bouchard had promised to invest billions in Carrefour, said he would maintain employment for two years and that the group would be listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in parallel with Canada, Bloomberg reported.
Contacted by AFP, neither Couche-Tard nor Carrefour had confirmed the information on Friday evening.
Although talks had stopped, anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg said negotiations could resume if the French government changes its position.
But on Friday, France’s Economy Minister made his choice public, telling BMTV and RMC: “My position is a polite, but clear and definitive ‘No’.”
“Food security is a strategic consideration for our country and one does not just hand over one of the large French distributors like that,” Le Maire said.
“Carrefour is the biggest private sector employer in France with nearly 100,000 employees,” he noted, and the group accounts for 20 percent of the food distribution market in the country.
The French statements have not convinced the Canadian government.
A Canadian federal source said while they could understand concerns over allowing a foreign firm to take over such a large national employer, concerns over food security were unsubstantiated.
“But we cannot accuse a leading Canadian company like Couche-Tard of endangering the food sovereignty of an entire country,” the source, who requested anonymity, told AFP.

'Food sovereignty'
On Wednesday, Couche-Tard submitted a non-binding offer for Carrefour, valuing the group at more than 16 billion euros ($19.5 billion).
Le Maire made clear immediately that he was not in favor of a deal involving “an essential link in food security for the French, of food sovereignty.”
The government’s reaction had caused “surprise” at Carrefour itself, according to sources who said the comments were “premature” given that merger discussions had barely begun.
“We haven’t decided yet whether the interest shown is attractive for us,” one company official said on condition of anonymity earlier in the week.
Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores of various formats in more than 30 countries and in 2019 generated a net profit of 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) on revenue of 80.7 billion euros ($97.4 billion).
It employs 320,000 people worldwide.
Couche-Tard has a worldwide network of more than 14,200 stores and earned a net profit of $2.4 billion on sales of $54 billion in its last complete year.
In the United States and several European countries, as well as in Latin America and southeast Asia, it operates under Circle K and other brands.