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Document Shows FAA Predicted More Fatal Boeing 737 MAX Crashes

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel predicted that the Boeing 737 MAX could be involved in more than a dozen fatal crashes over its lifetime if no software changes were made following the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in October 2018, which killed 189 people.

According to CNBC, the internal FAA review released Wednesday was dated December 3, 2018, more than three months prior to a second fatal crash involving the now-grounded MAX aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near Bishoftu, Ethiopia just minutes after takeoff this past March, killing all 157 people aboard. The FAA and other air safety regulators around the world grounded the aircraft days later.

According to the new document, if no changes were made to the MAX’s flight-control software—which was implicated in both accidents—experts believed that the aircraft had the potential to be involved in at least 15 more fatal crashes over its decades-long lifetime.

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In a statement, Boeing said that the FAA agreed that measures taken by the aircraft manufacturer after the Lion Air crash late last year “sufficed to allow continued operation of the MAX fleet until changes to the…software could be implemented.”

“My highest priority is to make sure something like this never happens again,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said during a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure this week, via CNBC. He added that the groundings “illustrate what we have done historically we cannot be satisfied with. We’ve got to continue to put process improvements in place.”

Boeing has since developed a software fix giving pilots more control. However, Dickson recently confirmed that the recertification process for the MAX will extend into 2020, pointing out that “there are a number of processes, milestones, that have to be completed.”

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus

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A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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