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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.

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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.

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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.

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Southwest Flew Millions on Jets With Unconfirmed Maintenance Records, Government Report Says

A government report to be released in coming days says Southwest Airlines Co. LUV failed to prioritize safety and the airline’s regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, hasn’t done enough about it.

Southwest pilots flew more than 17 million passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records over roughly two years, and in 2019 smashed both wingtips of a jet on a runway while repeatedly trying to land amid gale-force winds, according to the Transportation Department report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The lapses are highlighted in a draft audit by the agency’s inspector general that also criticizes the FAA’s oversight of the carrier as lax, ineffective and inconsistent. The document indicates no agency enforcement action resulted from those safety slip-ups or certain other alleged hazards. In some cases, the report alleges, the FAA’s overall approach served to “justify continued noncompliance with safety regulations.”

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