Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX airliner is likely to return to service in Europe during the first quarter of 2020, the head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Monday.
While the European regulator expects to give its approval in January, preparations by national authorities and airlines may delay the resumption of commercial flights by up to another two months, EASA executive director Patrick Ky indicated. “If there are training requirements (and) coordination to be done with the EU member states to make sure everyone does the same thing at the same time, this will take a bit of time,” Ky said. “That’s why I’m saying the first quarter of 2020.” EASA also plans to carry out its own program of checks including simulator and flight tests, before allowing flights to resume in Europe. European experts traveled to Rockwell Collins facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week to begin an audit of a “reasonably final” software version, the EASA chief told Reuters on the sidelines of the agency’s annual safety conference in Helsinki. Rockwell Collins, a unit of United Technologies ( UTX.N ), developed the MAX flight control software with Boeing. “There has been a lot of work done on the design of the software,” Ky said. But he added: “We think there is still some work to be done.” source: Reuters
North American operators and now Air Canada has pulled the Boeing 737 MAX from its schedule until January and February 14, 2020 respectively. Air Canada cites the uncertainty surrounding regulatory approvals for the return to service of the plane as the reason. According to Air Canada, with 24 737 Max’s, this decision will provide some certainty and stability for the airline over the northern 2019/20 winter.
Air Canada’s new 737 MAX time frame matches that of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. Most North American airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines , and Southwest Airlines are currently banking on a mid-January 2020 return to service. Tomi Kilgore, writing in marketwatch.com , quotes Air Canada’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lucie Guillemette, saying;
“We are taking this prudent step as a result of the ongoing regulatory uncertainty about the timing of the aircraft returning to service. The extension will give us scheduling predictability through the implementation of the first phase of our new reservation system and the required stability as we prepare the second phase of the system roll-out, introducing it into the airport environment.” source: simply flying
The liquidators of Thomas Cook's British operations have kicked off a process aimed at raising tens of millions of pounds from an auction of dozens of airport take-off and landing slots.
The auction, which includes about 15 pairs of summer slots at London's Gatwick Airport, has drawn interest from some of the UK's biggest carriers, including British Airways' parent company International Airlines Group. EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Wizz Air are also understood to have lodged offers for limited numbers of slots, with Thomas Cook having operated out of Aberdeen and Manchester airports, in addition to Gatwick. In an aviation market constrained by capacity restrictions, take-off and landing slots can be among an airline's most valuable assets. Although Thomas Cook's slots were generally less valuable because of their departure and arrival times in the middle of the day, analysts expect them to generate a substantial sum for the company's liquidators to distribute to creditors. Sources said the auction needed to be completed by the middle of November for legal reasons, allowing a four-week period between initial bids and the conclusion of the sale process. source: Skynews