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Past Strains Between Boeing, FAA Threaten MAX Simulator Plans


Plans to mandate simulator training for pilots before Boeing Co. BA -6.23% ’s 737 MAX can return to service—already a time-consuming and costly undertaking—could face a further complication: personal friction between the plane maker’s staff and U.S. government officials.

Internal Boeing messages recently made public amid House and Senate investigations showed company pilots ridiculing their counterparts at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Now several of those agency experts are responsible for helping approve a version of Boeing’s updated training programs, according to industry and government officials familiar with the details.

How the two sides get along could partly determine how long it takes to get the MAX flying again, nearly a year after it was grounded world-wide following two fatal crashes that claimed 346 lives.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Spirit AeroSystems Plans 737 MAX Restart in March


The biggest supplier of parts for the Boeing Co. 737 MAX plans to restart limited production in March, regardless of the plane maker’s ability to win backing from regulators for the jet to resume commercial service.

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. plans a gradual resumption of making fuselages, engine pylons and other parts for the jet, which has been grounded world-wide since last March following the second of two fatal crashes that claimed 346 lives.

Spirit, based in Wichita, Kan., derives more than half of its revenues from the MAX, and last month announced plans to cut almost 3,200 jobs in Kansas and Oklahoma, and suspend its dividend to save money.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Imagine a Middle Seat You’d Actually Pay For

No-repair automobiles. Self-changing diapers. Never-wilt fresh flowers. Comfortable middle seats.

Which one might actually happen? Airlines and seat manufacturers have figured out that adding an extra inch of width to the middle seat can actually improve comfort for everyone in a row.

Frontier, Spirit, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Korean Air and a dozen other airlines have been installing coach seats with a bit more width for the poor soul in the middle. And the results have surprised airlines: Comfort scores improve across the row because the passenger in the middle isn’t infringing as much on the passengers on either side.

“That additional inch of benefit has translated into making the middle seat almost like you are agnostic across the row, which is really fascinating,” Spirit chief executive Ted Christie says.

Excerpt from WSJ
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United Airlines Cuts U.S., International Flights in Response to Coronavirus

United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it would cut domestic flights, as the spreading coronavirus depresses bookings.

Airlines world-wide have parked more than 1,000 planes as bookings have fizzled and concerns have risen that depressed demand could extend into the busy peak summer season.

The carrier said Wednesday it plans to store some wide-body jets and is offering staff unpaid leaves of absence in April. The effort is the latest by airlines to mitigate the shock to the industry caused by cascading travel restrictions and passenger concerns over flying. Companies including Boeing Co. BA -6.20% are instructing their employees to cut out unnecessary travel.

Other U.S. carriers have sought to stimulate demand by offering passengers the option to change flights without penalties.

Excerpt from WSJ
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