In international news, the investigation into the cause of the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 have drawn more similarities to the Lion Air accident in October 2018. The cockpit of both aircraft lacked an extra security feature that would have alerted pilots to faulty readings of a fundamental parameter of flight, which Boeing will now include in all future aircraft and retrofit in existing ones. While the investigation continues, an Indonesian airline cited passenger concerns in its decision to cancel orders for the aircraft involved in both accidents. In Mexico, the leader of the local pilots’ union minimized potential negative effects of grounding the aircraft.
In other news, Latin American aviation began 2019 on the right foot, according to ALTA, and two Mexican airlines announced more routes.
Now, jump into the highlights:
Boeing 737 Max 8 Investigation
Pressure mounted on Boeing after investigators found strong similarities in measurements of the “angle of attack,” a key flight parameter, between the Ethiopian Airlines and the Lion Air accidents. Reports indicated that the cockpits of the airplanes involved in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes lacked an extra safety feature that would have alerted pilots to different readings in the angle of attack.
After the reports came to light, Boeing indicated that it would make the previously optional US$80,000 alarm a standard in all of its 737 Max fleet.
The two 737 Max 8 crashes are leading airlines to rethink previous orders. While some airlines, such as Ryanair, are staying true to the aircraft, Indonesian airline Garuda is planning to cancel a US$6 billion order for the aircraft.
Aviation in Mexico and Latin America
The Air Pilots Union (ASPA) minimized potential operational problems caused by the grounding of Aeroméxico’s six Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Aeroméxico is the only Mexican airline to operate the Max 8. The airline did not comment on the future of its 45 737 Max 8 orders, of which it expects to receive eight this year.
Low-cost airlines Volaris and VivaAerobus announced more routes. Volaris will launch two new routes from Monterrey and VivaAerobus will launch four from Tijuana and one from Hermosillo.
The Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) indicated that airlines in the region grew by 3.7 percent in passenger traffic during January 2019. The route that grew the most was Peru-Mexico, at 16.5 percent.