Boeing To Update 737 MAX Software As Grounding Of Jets Drags On

Blanche Robertson
March 17, 2019

Identifying the remains of the 157 people killed in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash may take up to six months, the airline said in a document seen by AFP on Saturday.

Dagmawit said temporary death certificate had been given, and a final one would be issued in two weeks time.

As families await results from the investigation, the airline is planning to hold a service on Sunday in Addis Ababa, at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, where many of Ethiopia's past rulers are buried under its pink stone spires.

Ethiopia's transport minister said on Saturday it may take "considerable time" for investigators to find the cause of the crash involving the new aeroplane.

Countries across the world grounded the 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft after flight 302 crashed on 10 March.

Flyadeal ordered 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s last December with purchasing options for 20 more in a deal that Boeing said was worth $5.9 billion at list prices.

The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash.

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An Ethiopian delegation delivered the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, which were damaged in the disaster, to France's BEA air safety agency to begin the investigation on Friday.

However, Boeing said, in a statement, that it expects the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve design changes to the planes' software "no later than April 2019".

And Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger - noted for his safe landing of a damaged plane on the Hudson River in NY without loss of life - questioned the lack of experience of the Ethiopian first officer on the doomed flight, who reportedly had only 200 hours of flight time. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all Boeing 737 Max planes used by USA carriers grounded until safety concerns are addressed. It pointed to possible similarities to the Lion Air crash.

The 737 Max has flight-control software that can automatically tilt the stabilizers if sensors detect that the plane is in danger of losing aerodynamic lift from the wings, which is necessary to stay aloft.

Boeing plans to release upgraded software for its 737 Max in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said.

Boeing and U.S. air safety regulators have been at odds over how much pilot training will be required along with the software fix, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

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