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Investigators: ‘Bird strike was factor in Ethiopia Boeing Max 8 crash’

US aviation experts believe a bird strike sparked the faulty autopilot sensors that caused the deadly Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash earlier this year

  • US aviation investigators said Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed March 10 may have been involved in a bird strike, it was reported Tuesday
  • Boeing share prices rose 1.2 per cent around midday Tuesday
  • But Ethiopian airlines said there was ‘no evidence of any foreign object damage’ 
  • Boeing also said it had completed fixes on Max 8 and updated training for pilots 
  • United, Ryanair, China Eastern Airlines, and Flydubai have cancelled Max 8  orders and asked for refunds as the latter airline complained profits dropped
  • Models have been grounded globally for two months after it was the second Max 8 crash in five months after October 2018’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia 
  • Dozens of families have sued Boeing over the Lion Air crash, and several lawsuits have been lodged over the Ethiopian crash near the capital Addis Ababa

US aviation investigators have reportedly said a bird strike may have been a factor in the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash in Addis Ababa in March.

CNBC reported that a person familiar with the matter on Tuesday preceded stocks for aviation company rising 1.2 per cent around midday.

It was previously reported bad data may have activated a system that pushed the nose of the plane down and may have been the reason the aircraft and the same model belonging to Lion Air went down in Indonesia in October 2018.

The American aviation official reportedly think the bird strike could have triggered the anti-install MCAS system in the Ethiopian flight 302 crash that killed eight Americans of 35 nationalities on board.

However the airline said there was ‘no evidence of any foreign object damage’ as the probe remains open. 

US aviation investigators have said the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane, that crashed March 10 may have been involved in a bird strike. Actual plane pictured November 12, 2018

As Boeing share prices rose 1.2 per cent around midday Tuesday, Ethiopian airlines said there was ‘no evidence of any foreign object damage’

Numerous investigations are currently ongoing regarding the two crashes within five months of each other that killed 346 people.

On Thursday Boeing said they had done a fix that would give pilots more control over the system that had led to many airlines cancelling orders of the Boeing 737 Max. Several airlines asked for compensation from Boeing, including United, Ryanair, China Eastern Airlines, and Flydubai.

Ryanair said this week that profits were down more than a quarter, its weakest profits in four years.

After some pilots anonymously said they were not given ample training on using the MCAS system, the company also developed a new training plan will be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing has not yet formally submitted its software upgrade and training revisions to the FAA for approval or completed a certification flight. However Boeing shares rose after Wall Street Journal reported the move.

On Tuesday Airlines for America, the trade group representing major U.S. carriers, said it expects 257.4 million passengers to travel on U.S. airlines between June 1 and August 31 – up 3.4 per cent from last summer’s record of 248.8 million passengers.

Airlines are adding 111,000 seats daily to accommodate the extra 93,000 passengers expected per day, the group said, in what it forecast will be the 10th consecutive summer of increases in the number of U.S. airline passengers.

The model was the second to go down in five months and killed 157 people including eight Americans on board

Lion Air Flight 610 went down in the ocean just off Indonesia in October 2018 and it was reported bad data may have activated a system that pushed the nose of the Max 8s down

Dozens of families have sued Boeing over the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, and several lawsuits have been lodged over the Ethiopian crash near the capital Addis Ababa, which led airlines around the world to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.

A French woman whose husband died in the crash in Ethiopia that killed all 157 passengers and crew filed a U.S. lawsuit against the planemaker Monday, seeking at least $276 million in damages.

The lawsuit on behalf of Nadege Dubois-Seex, whose husband Jonathan Seex was a Swedish and Kenyan citizen and chief executive of the Tamarind Group of Companies, was filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The complaint alleges Boeing failed to inform pilots properly about the risks posed by software meant to prevent the 737 MAX from stalling.

‘We have learned that Boeing relied on a single sensor that had been previously flagged in over 200 incident reports submitted to the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration),’ U.S. attorney Nomaan Husain said in a statement.

Two Boeing spokeswomen in Europe did not reply to messages seeking comment, while a Boeing spokesman in the United States did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

American Airlines Group Boeing 737 Max planes sit parked outside a maintenance hangar at Tulsa International Airport (TUL) in Oklahoma May 14. Three unions representing aviation safety inspectors said in a report months before the model was approved for use that the planemaker was given too much authority to oversee itself and that new jet had safety flaws

‘Our family has lost its shining knight and the world has lost a brilliant entrepreneur,’ Dubois-Seex, a French citizen, said in a statement.

Boeing said last week it had completed an update to the 737 MAX’s MCAS software and was in the process of submitting a plan for related pilot training to the FAA.

It is unclear when the 737 MAX aircraft will receive FAA approval to return to service. Safety regulators in other countries have said they plan to independently assess Boeing’s fixes before giving their approval.

A new lawsuit says Boeing’s design of the 737 Max was faulty and the company was able to rush the plane into production because it faced little oversight from regulators.

The lawsuit says the plane could crash if a single part malfunctioned, that Boeing concealed problems and refused to ground the plane on its own.

Lawyers say Boeing did the same thing after crashes of earlier 737s in the 1990s.

Former Transportation Department Inspector General Mary Schiavo filed the lawsuit last week in federal district court in South Carolina on behalf of relatives of a Swedish man killed on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is hosting a meeting of global regulators in Dallas on Thursday to review software and training proposals from Boeing before deciding whether, and when, to end the two-month grounding.

Britt-Marie Seex, the mother of American victim Jonathan Seex of the Ethiopia plane Crash, sits next to a photograph of her son with the widow Nadege Dubois-Seex, right, during a press conference about a lawsuit against American plane maker Boeing in Paris, Tuesday. Boeing faces a growing stack of lawsuits over the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March and another in Indonesia last year, which killed 346 people in total

Paul Njoroge (left) who lost his wife and three children in the March 10 crash is comforted by Manant Vaidya, who also lost three generations of family members in the same crash and attorney Kevin Durkin (right) during a news conference on April 29

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