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Boeing Uncovers New Issue With 737 MAX



Boeing has discovered another issue with its grounded 737 MAX jet as it works to return the troubled aircraft to the skies this summer.

On Tuesday, the company confirmed that it found debris contaminating the fuel tanks in “several” undelivered planes built in the past year.

According to the Associated Press, Boeing said it has already made adjustments to prevent the problem from recurring in the future, including stepping up inspections before fuel tanks are sealed to ensure no metal shavings, tools or other objects are left behind during assembly, which poses an increased risk of electrical short-circuiting and fires.

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FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told the AP that the agency has “increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings.”

General manager of Boeing’s 737 program, Mark Jenks, called the discovery “absolutely unacceptable” in a memo to employees. However, the issue is not expected to delay the aircraft’s timeline to return to service, with the 737 MAX’s all-important certification flight expected to take place soon.

Boeing built approximately 400 undelivered MAX jets before temporarily suspending production in January. The aircraft has been grounded since last March following the second of two fatal crashes that killed a combined 346 people.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have each extended their 737 MAX cancellations into late-summer.

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United Puts Financial Losses Into Shocking Perspective



With the demand for travel at an all-time low thanks to stay-at-home directives and severe travel restrictions, United Airlines on Thursday put the industry’s financial losses into a stark perspective.

According to the aviation blog The Points Guy, which had privy to view a virtual town hall held by the carrier, United is losing “over $100 million a day” due to the impact of the coronavirus global pandemic, United president Scott Kirby said.

Kirby conducted the town hall along with current CEO Oscar Munoz, who is stepping down in favor of Kirby later this year.

As The Points Guy pointed out, United cut almost 70 percent of its schedule in April with further cuts likely for May—as all airlines have. In fact, predictions going forward are dire. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said they expect airlines to lose a collective $61 billion in the second quarter of this year (April, May and June).

United said it will pursue some of the $25 billion in grants available for employee compensation from the U.S. government stimulus package, as well as consider whether to apply for some of the $25 billion in loans. But this is all uncharted territory for the industry, even after the financial devastation from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“One of the lessons from this is, our stress test from 9/11 wasn’t stressful enough,” Kirby said in reference to United’s preparations and need for cash to keep operating.

United has not decided whether to permanently retire any jets as a result of the coronavirus, according to The Points Guy.

“If we want to emerge stronger, if we want to emerge the world’s leading airline on the other side of this, we have to have flexibility,” he said.

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