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Crash Probe to Assess if Pakistani Airliner Dragged Engines on Runway in Landing Attempt

Landing gear on Pakistan International Airlines jet may not have been deployed; 97 died in crash Friday

ISLAMABAD—A Pakistani-led investigation into a deadly air crash Friday will examine whether the jet’s engines were damaged in an aborted first landing, causing a loss of power when the plane circled around for a second landing, officials familiar with the probe said.

Initial evidence suggests the engines of the Pakistan International Airlines jet made contact with the runway in Karachi when the pilot attempted to land without landing gear deployed, the officials said. Marks on the runway indicate the engines were dragged along it, while flight-altitude data and eyewitness accounts say that the plane took off again, they said.

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Boeing and Airbus Study How Coronavirus Behaves During Air Travel

Industry is working to curb pandemic risks that have brought air traffic to a near standstill

Boeing Co. BA 3.31% and Airbus EADSY -0.94% SE are researching the new coronavirus’s behavior inside jetliners, part of an industry push to curb risks that have brought air traffic to a near standstill.

Their work will involve academics, engineers and medical experts expected to examine new measures to prevent disease transmission on airplanes, according to the companies and people involved in their discussions.

The effort to better understand air-travel risks during the pandemic comes as airlines try to reassure nervous passengers that masks and filtered cabin air provide reliable protection from infection in flight. Global air traffic has plunged as governments closed borders and ordered would-be fliers to stay home.

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Is It Safe To Travel Anywhere? All Your Coronavirus Questions Answered

A Q&A for anyone confused about traveling right now: How to stay healthy, how to get a refund when you cancel a trip, and when it might be safe to travel again

Is there any place abroad that’s safe to travel right now?

In a nutshell, no. The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries and every continent except for Antarctica. In March, the U.S. State Department issued its sternest warning against international travel, citing the escalating coronavirus outbreak around the globe, increasing travel restrictions, quarantines and airline cancellations. The Level 4 advisory, which means “Do Not Travel,” is the highest level, typically issued for war zones but here applied to all international destinations. The State Department also urged those U.S. citizens already abroad to return immediately or prepare to stay outside of the U.S. indefinitely. Even apart from the State Department warning, American travelers won’t be welcomed in the growing number of countries that are closing their borders to nonresidents, including Canada, the 26 countries in the European Union, India, Israel and Australia. And due to the high number of confirmed cases on cruise ships, the CDC and the U.S. State Department are advising travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, to avoid all cruise trips. The CDC also recommends older adults and travelers with underlying health issues to avoid long plane trips.

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‘Welcome to Your Flight, Nathan.’ Traveling During a Pandemic Means Having the Plane to Yourself

With the huge decline in air travel, those still flying have plenty of room.  Maybe everyone was running late, Juan Grimaldo thought.

It was earlier this month at the Phoenix airport, and Mr. Grimaldo, 22, had just arrived at his gate. He had finished a stint working on a construction site and bought a cheap American Airlines ticket home to El Paso, Texas. He knew the coronavirus pandemic would keep most people at home, but there wasn’t another passenger in sight.

As he approached, the gate attendant greeted him by name. That was odd, he thought. He boarded, bemused. A sea of empty rows gaped. “Then it hit me,” he says. “I was the only one on the plane.”

To fly is an experience that upends a sense of space and time. In the wake of the coronavirus, with millions of Americans sheltering in place, that is truer than ever. Airports sit eerily empty, symbols of how the virus has devastated the economy and airlines in particular. Air passenger numbers are down a whopping 95%, according to U.S. government data, with many airline workers laid off or furloughed.

Excerpt from WSJ
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