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Wiring Issue Could Push Boeing 737 MAX Grounding Back Even Further

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported Sunday it is working with Boeing on a wiring issue that has the potential to cause a short circuit on 737 MAX flights.

According to Reuters.com, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the wiring issue was discovered during the rigorous inspection process and showed two bundles of wiring being too close, which could result in a short circuit and the potential for a crash.

Johndroe said it would be “premature to speculate as to whether this analysis will lead to any design changes.” FAA officials responded by saying they are reviewing the proposed modifications to the grounded planes and analyzing the wiring issue findings.

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Boeing discovered the latest problem after the FAA directed the company to complete an audit in December, with an unnamed source telling Reuters the wiring issue could push back the return of the MAX to March or later.

FAA officials called the wiring issue “potentially catastrophic,” but said protections like shielding, insulation and circuit breakers could prevent the short circuit.

Last month, Boeing announced it would temporarily halt the production of the MAX in January and revealed the company had fired Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg after disturbing documents were revealed to the FAA.

Thus far, the MAX grounding has cost Boeing an estimated $9 billion, including some of the compensation being shared with airlines impacted by the 737 fleet being out of service.

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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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