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Heavier Passengers on Planes Mean New Safety Limits for Airlines

Passengers keep getting bigger. Now airlines must account more accurately for that.

The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring updates to passenger and baggage weight estimates that airlines use to keep each flight within airplane safety limits. Each U.S. airline must submit a plan by June 12 explaining which average weights for passengers and baggage they’ll use, down to phones and clothing, and how they estimated those weights. The FAA must approve each airline’s plan.

Airline officials say the weight estimates used for passengers and baggage are going up between 5% and 10%. That will affect some flights, possibly requiring that more passengers get bumped or more baggage left behind. Impact is likelier on unusually hot days and in cities higher above sea level, when the weight an airplane can safely carry is reduced because wings won’t generate as much lift. Flights into stiff headwinds that require more fuel also may face more weight issues.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Indonesia Plane Crash: What Happened to the Sriwijaya Air Jet?


Boeing 737-500 plunged into Java Sea with 62 on board, setting off an investigation into the cause

Investigators in Indonesia are seeking to uncover why a Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the sea shortly after taking off on Jan. 9. The incident involving a Boeing 737-500 came more than two years after a Lion Air plane went down in the country, resulting in 189 deaths.

What happened to the plane?
The Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the Java Sea minutes after it took off from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. It was carrying 62 people, including 10 children, on a domestic flight to Pontianak, a city on Indonesia’s Borneo island.

The plane departed at 2:36 p.m. and climbed to a maximum altitude of 10,900 feet about four minutes later before beginning a steep descent, according to Indonesian investigators. It went missing at 2:40 p.m.

Divers and search crew located debris from the plane and human remains around an area known as the Thousand Islands, to the north of Jakarta. There were no survivors.

Excerpt from WSJ
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