(Reuters) – More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 passenger jets around the world have been taken out of service following two fatal crashes over the past five months in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed almost 350 people in all.
FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder/File Photo
The causes of both crashes are under investigation. One of the biggest unanswered questions: Was the plane’s software to blame?
WHAT WE KNOW
– Europe and Canada said on Tuesday they will independently certify the safety of the jets, further complicating plans to get the aircraft flying worldwide.
– The investigation turned on Tuesday to the Ethiopian flight’s cockpit voice recorder, as the words of the pilot and first officer could reveal what led to the crash.
– Boeing Co has stopped delivery of all new MAX jets to its customers. Stock losses have wiped around $29 billion off the company’s market value.
– Boeing maintains its new, fuel-efficient jets are safe, but supported the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to ground them.
– Investigators have found strong similarities in the ‘angle of attack’ data recorded by the Ethiopian Airlines flight cockpit recorder and data from the Lion Air jet, a person familiar with the matter said.
– Investigators who verified data extracted from the black box recorders of the Ethiopian plane have found “clear similarities” with the doomed Lion Air flight, the French BEA air accident authority also said.
– Investigators have found a piece of a stabilizer in the wreckage of the Ethiopian jet with the trim set in an unusual position similar to that of the Lion Air plane, two sources familiar with the matter said.
– The pilot of the Ethiopian flight had reported internal control problems and received permission to return. The pilot of the Lion Air flight, which crashed on Oct. 29 with the loss of all 189 people on board, had also asked to return not long after taking off from Jakarta.
– Indonesia plans to release the report on the Lion Air crash between July and August, ahead of its previous schedule of between August and September.
– U.S. lawmakers said the planes could be grounded for weeks to upgrade and install the software in every plane. Other countries may ground the planes even longer.
– Boeing plans to release upgraded software for its 737 MAX in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said on March 16.
– The U.S. Transportation Department’s inspector general plans to audit the FAA’s certification of the jet, an official with the office said on Tuesday. The office can recommend changes or improvements to how the FAA operates.
– The U.S. Justice Department is also looking at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of Boeing, one of the people said. The FAA has said it is “absolutely” confident in its vetting.
– No lawsuits have been filed since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, but some plaintiffs’ lawyers said they expect that Boeing will be sued in the United States.
– Ethiopian Airlines said on March 16 that DNA testing of the remains of the passengers may take up to six months.
– Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the MAX model and how well pilots were trained on new features.
Compiled by Ben Klayman, Sayantani Ghosh, Mark Potter and Keith Weir; Editing by Lisa Shumaker