Aviation industry tackles safety issues as travel picks up

Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

Delta has placed orders for — but does not currently fly — the Boeing 737 Max, the type of jet that had a fatal crash in 2018 in Indonesia and another in 2019 in Ethiopia, which combined killed 346 people.

The 737 Max 10 planes that Delta ordered — the largest Max jet model that has not yet been certified by the FAA — were supposed to be delivered starting in 2025, but it “undoubtedly will be later than that,” Bastian said. “Whether it’s two years, or three years time, I don’t know.”

“But when the plane finally does get certified, and we have 100% confidence around the aircraft, we’ll take it,” Bastian said. “In the meantime, we’ll continue to take Airbus” aircraft deliveries.

‘Don’t see any systemic issues’

Last month, a United Airlines Boeing 737 Max slid off a taxiway in Houston. It was one of a series of recent incidents involving United planes, including a jet that lost a wheel on takeoff and a piece of aluminum skin falling off a plane, which led the CEO of United to seek to reassure travelers that safety is the airline’s top priority, the Associated Press reported.

“Whenever we have these incidents that happen one after another, it’s understandable why passengers, the flying public, would be concerned,” Shahidi said. “But we don’t see any systemic issues with respect to those incidents. Now that said, we are concerned about complacency.”


United isn’t alone in reports of recent aircraft incidents. On April 7, a Southwest Airlines jet returned to the airport in Denver after an engine cover fell off and hit a wing flap during takeoff, AP reported.

Shahidi said turnover in the aviation workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic was “an enormous shock to the system” with experienced, skilled personnel leaving the aviation industry. With travel demand coming back, “now you have a whole new workforce coming into the system while it’s expanding,” and he said mentoring of new entrants to the workforce is crucial.

Shahidi is calling on airlines, manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration “to really redouble their efforts to make sure that they have to good safety management systems in place.”

One step Boeing has been working on to improve quality is discussing an acquisition of supplier Spirit AeroSystems, which builds fuselages for the Max.


swipe to next page

©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus