Travel News

Airlines get $62m as CBN repays banks $2bn debt - PUNCH

JANUARY 08, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

The Central Bank of Nigeria has paid $2bn to clear a part of its backlog of matured foreign exchange obligations to the Deposit Money Banks.

Reports have put CBN’s forward contract obligations to banks at $7bn. The delay in the payment of the debt has been said to be responsible for the current volatility in the forex market, a situation that has led to the falling value of the naira against the US dollar.

According to a statement by the CBN on Sunday, foreign airlines also received $61.64m from the disbursement, aimed to address the pending matured foreign exchange owed to them.

CBN reportedly owes foreign airlines over $700m.

A statement by the CBN Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi Alia, said the move underscored its commitment to resolving pending obligations and a functional foreign exchange market.

She said, “These payments signify the CBN’s ongoing efforts to settle all remaining valid forward transactions, to alleviate the current pressure on the country’s exchange rate.

“It is anticipated that this initiative by the CBN should provide a considerable boost to the Naira hug against other major world currencies and further increase investor confidence in the Nigeria economy.”

Foreign airlines in Nigeria have grappled with the challenge of repatriating their ticket sales in foreign exchange.

The situation has resulted in a substantial backlog, reaching billions of dollars.

According to the International Air Transport Association, Nigeria tops the list with blocked funds totaling $792mn, followed by Egypt ($348m), Algeria ($199m), AFI zone ($183m), and Ethiopia ($128m).

 IATA had warned the CBN that some foreign airlines might be forced to quit the Nigerian market if nothing was done to clear the debt.

Reacting to the latest development on Sunday, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, Susan Akporiaye, said the $61.64m paid to foreign airlines was part of the accumulated debts.

Akporiaye explained, “The old debts are being settled at the prevailing rate when tickets are sold, with the exchange rate around N400/450 to one dollar. The debt, which was originally over $800m, has been reduced.

“This specific issue led to Emirates discontinuing flights into Nigeria. The government has committed to paying the old outstanding debt at the rates prevalent during the sales period.”

According to her, foreign airlines have been sourcing forex at the I&E  window over the development.

Justice Okamgba

Justice has over three years experience spanning digital and print media. At The PUNCH, he currently covers the automobile sector with special interest in features and industry analysis.

FG Activates Automated Passport Application For Nigerians - DAILY TRUST

JANUARY 08, 2024

By Joshua Odeyemi

The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Monday, launched an automated passport application process for Nigerians.

With this, Nigerians at home and abroad can now go online to apply for passports without interface with personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.

While speaking on the successfully launched online passports portal, Tunji-Ojo ascribed credit for the project to the visionary leadership and support given by President Bola Tinubu.

The minister was upbeat that the online passports portal would drastically reduce contacts between applicants and immigration officers, adding that it would revolutionise the process of obtaining passports.

He also added that it would speed up the entire process of obtaining a new passport by Nigerians in any part of the world.

“This initiative is sure to bring relief to all Nigerians who desire to obtain the nation’s passport. The portal has undoubtedly ended the long waiting period for passport issuance. It has also ended the cycle of daily wastage of man-hours by passport applicants”, said Tunji-Ojo.

The Minister during the training of Immigration personnel for the exercise had hinted that the online passport application platform was established for both international and Nigerian applicants.

He said the process which would involve uploading passport photos and supporting documents online would reduce human interfaces and eliminate corrupt practices.

He explained that Nigerian applicants who want 32-page passports with five-year validity would pay N25,000, while those who want 64-page passports with a 10-year validity would pay N70,000.

Foreign applicants, who wish to apply for passports with a five-year validity period and 32 pages, would pay $130, while those who prefer passports with a 10-year validity period and 64 pages would pay $230.

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia sign agreement for 2024 Hajj - PREMIUM TIMES

JANUARY 09, 2024

He noted that the arrangements the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had put in place would improve the 2023 Hajj operations and ensure the safety and comfort of Nigerian pilgrims.

By Chiamaka Okafor

Nigeria and Saudi Arabia on Sunday signed an agreement for the 2024 Hajj operations.

The agreement was signed in Jeddah by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, at a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Taofiq AlRabiah, on the sideline of the 3rd Edition of the Hajj and Umrah Conference and Exhibition.

In a statement signed by the minister’s aide, Alkasim Abdulkadir, the minister assured that “the 2024 Hajj Operations will be guided by a new culture of precision that will ensure that pre-Hajj, Hajj and Umrah activities are carried out on time.”

The meeting also focused on the airlifting of pilgrims, Nigerian government-endorsed airlines, Hajj accommodations, and the feeding of pilgrims.

“We discussed ways of improving services of Hajj and Umrah on both sides; this is a process that is always being reviewed, and from what was discussed, there will be improvements in this year’s Hajj,” the minister said.

According to Mr Tuggar, Nigeria contributes the 4th largest number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and the 5th largest when it comes to Umrah.

He noted that the arrangements the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had put in place would improve the 2023 Hajj operations and ensure the safety and comfort of Nigerian pilgrims.

In 2023, although Nigerian authorities said the country had a successful Hajj operation, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) announced the death of about 13 Nigerians in the course of the 2023 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia during Sunday’s meeting said it will review all issues raised by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, assuring the Nigerian delegation of the cooperation of the Saudi Hajj authorities to ensure a seamless 2024 Hajj and Umrah operation.

The Nigerian delegation to the ratification and 2024 Hajj and Umrah Conference had officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), including the commission’s Chairman, Jalal Arabi, Nigeria’s acting Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Mahmud Lele, and Nigeria’s Consul General in Jeddah, Bello Kazaure.

A total of 95,000 Nigerians participated in the 2023 Hajj. It is expected that about that number would be in Saudi Arabia for the next hajj.

Cathay Pacific Union Calls for Government Inquiry Into Pilot Shortage - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 09, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. pilot’s union has called for a government inquiry into the Hong Kong carrier’s handling of mass flight cancellations, laying the blame for the current woes at steep job cuts made during the height of the pandemic.   

“Any such review must examine the root of Cathay’s problems, which lie in the decisions made by management in 2020,” Paul Weatherilt, chairman of the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association, said in a statement Tuesday. “Hong Kong aviation will continue to suffer until there is an acknowledgment of these mistakes and a change in leadership, particularly among those responsible for overseeing flight operations.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said he’s very concerned by the cancellations as flight capacity is important to the city’s role as a transportation hub. The airline has cancelled 200 flights since Christmas Eve, originally citing higher-than-normal rates of pilot illness. 

The government will be communicating with the industry about rebuilding capacity, Lee said at a briefing on Tuesday. 

“I understand that because of Covid, there are challenges we need to overcome,” he said. “The transport and logistics bureau will be in touch with the management of Cathay Pacific to indicate our goals and see how we can work together to ensure the best services are provided to passengers.”

Transport Secretary Lam Sai-hung also expressed great concern to Cathay’s senior executives about the flight cancellations in a Facebook post Monday. He asked the airline to update affected passengers as soon as possible and provide assistance, such as rebooking flights or transferring travelers to other airlines, to minimize any damage. 

The airline apologized, saying it understood the concerns and would make the “appropriate” arrangements for affected customers. 

“We have learned from this experience and have made necessary improvements to ensure future operational stability,” the company said in a statement.

Cathay said Sunday it was scrubbing around 12 flights a day through the end of February to avoid disruptions in the peak Lunar New Year travel period. The carrier has said a large part of the flight cuts stem from pilots hitting flying limits of 900 hours across a rolling 12-month period, Bloomberg News reported earlier.

The airline’s chronic shortage of pilots, at captain and first officer rank, comes after it eliminated thousands of jobs at the height of Covid and cut salaries of remaining workers by as much as 50%. Pilots on staff now stand at 2,532, according to data from the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association, down 35% from the end of 2019. 

Scrubbing flights in the short term gives back pilots more hours to fly under the rolling cap, giving Cathay flexibility to deploy crews for its increased flight schedule during Lunar New Year, which runs from Feb. 10-17.

--With assistance from Linda Lew.

(Adds Cathay Pacific comments in the 6th paragraph)

What airlines, regulators are doing about Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets - REUTERS

JANUARY 10, 2024

Jan 10 (Reuters) - The latest setback for Boeing's (BA.N) top-selling 737 MAX aircraft occurred on Friday when a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) plane forcing its pilots to make an emergency landing.

U.S. regulators have ordered a temporary grounding for safety checks on 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets installed with the same panel, while investigations and safety checks take place.

There are about 215 737 MAX 9 jets in service globally in total, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

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Carriers offering denser seating configurations have an exit door at that position instead of the panel and are not affected by the grounding order.

Here's what regulators and airlines are doing as a result of the latest incident:



The airline grounded all 65 of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes.

It said on Monday that initial reports from its technicians indicated some "loose hardware" was visible on some aircraft in the relevant area when it conducted checks of its fleet.

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Alaska Airlines has cancelled hundreds of flights since the incident. That included 109 flights, or 18% of its schedule on Tuesday. Similar cancellations were expected on Wednesday.


The only other U.S. airline that operates the jets has suspended service on all 79 of its 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

The carrier said on Monday that its preliminary checks found bolts that needed tightening on several panels.

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United cancelled 225 flights, or 8% of its total schedule on Tuesday. Similar cancellations were expected on Wednesday.


The Panamanian carrier said on Tuesday that 21 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes remained grounded while the authorities and the manufacturer defined the inspection instructions necessary for their safe and reliable evaluation and return to operation.


The airline said on Sunday it had withdrawn five 737 MAX 9 aircraft from service for inspection.


The airline said on Sunday it had grounded 19 affected 737 MAX 9 jets for inspection.



The airline said on Sunday that its three Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes were not affected. It operates the aircraft with a deactivated mid-aft exit door configuration, which is not affected by the directive.


Air Tanzania has one 737 MAX, 9 but its CEO told Reuters on Sunday that Boeing had told the airline that its aircraft was not of the type that needed to be inspected.


Corendon Dutch said on Monday it has two 737 MAX 9, but the airline uses the extra seating capacity and therefore the extra door, so the plane does not require inspection.


Icelandair said on Monday it was not affected by the FAA grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

"It has been confirmed that the issue is related to equipment that is not a part of Icelandair's Boeing 737 MAX 9 configuration," said a spokesperson for the airline, which operates four of the aircraft.



The FAA issued a directive on Saturday temporarily grounding certain 737 MAX 9 planes.

The FAA said on Tuesday that Boeing was revising its instructions for inspections and maintenance, which the regulator must still approve before checks can begin.

The FAA said it "will conduct a thorough review" and public safety will determine the timeline for returning the MAX to service.


The independent U.S. agency has opened an investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident.

The NTSB said the plane's cockpit voice recorder was overwritten, renewing its long-standing safety calls for longer in-flight recordings.


Brazil's aviation regulator ANAC said on Sunday the FAA ruling automatically applies to all flights in Brazil.

In Brazil, only Copa Airlines operates the plane, it said.


China's regulator has sought details on the incident, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday. Bloomberg reported earlier that China, the first country to ground MAX flights in 2019, was considering whether to take action.

Chinese airlines have not yet resumed delivery of any MAX models and analysts said the Alaska Airlines incident had the potential to cause further delays.


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) adopted the FAA directive, but noted no EU member state airlines operate aircraft with the affected configuration.


India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Monday that one-time inspections it had ordered of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft had been performed satisfactorily. None of the country's airlines fly the 737 MAX 9 model.


grounded three Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes operated by Lion Air on Saturday, a transport ministry spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the planes had different configurations from the Alaska Airlines plane.

The ministry will coordinate with the FAA, Boeing and Lion Air to monitor the situation, adding that "operational safety will be our priority".


The UK Civil Aviation Authority said on Saturday there are no UK-registered planes affected. It will require any 737 MAX 9 operators entering its airspace to comply with the FAA directive.


The civil aviation said on Sunday that none of its national carriers have planes affected by the order.


Turkey's Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday noted the FAA's actions and said it was coordinating with stakeholders regarding affected aircraft belonging to airlines in Turkey and those using Turkish airspace.


South Korea's transport ministry on Sunday asked five airlines to inspect their 14 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. On Tuesday, the ministry said no problems had been detected.

Reporting by Reuters bureaus; compiled by Josephine Mason, Luca Fratangelo, Marleen Käsebier, Lisa Barrington; Editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens and Jamie Freed

Air Peace commences Abidjan, Cotonou flights Jan 22 - BUSINESSDAY

JANUARY 11, 2024


Nigerian carrier Air Peace announced on Wednesday that it will commence direct flights from Lagos to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Cotonou, Benin Republic, on Monday, January 22.

These new routes are part of the airline’s strategic plans to expand its regional destinations across the continent, and these additions bring the total number to 10 in just less than a decade since it commenced flight operations.

This information was made available in a press release signed by Stanley Olisa, the company’s spokesperson, who said: “the new routes were further confirmation of the airline’s unyielding drive to connect the whole of Africa and facilitate economic prosperity on the continent.”

According to Olisa, in addition to these new routes opening soon, Air Peace is also introducing new connections such as Abidjan-Dakar, Cotonou-Dakar, and Abidjan-Cotonou.

He stated that the route schedules are now live on the airline’s website, www.flyairpeace.com, and its mobile app, and customers can start booking to take advantage of the unbeatable launch fares.

This expansion now adds to the 21 domestic routes, 8 regional routes, and 6 international destinations of the Nigerian carrier.

US transportation head says no grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to air ‘until it is safe’ - THE GUARDIAN

JANUARY 11, 2024

The US transportation secretary announced on Wednesday afternoon that no grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 would return to service “until it is safe”, after Alaska Airlines announced the cancellation of all flights on its 737 Max 9 planes at the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pete Buttigieg said he was “not putting a timeline” on when the FAA will allow the planes to resume flights.

Every plane that the US aircraft manufacturer delivers “needs to be 100% safe”, Buttigieg added.

He said he has spoken to the head of Boeing and told him the company needs to do everything it can to establish 100% confidence in its planes.

The Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun, on Tuesday acknowledged “our mistake”, after a cabin panel of a 737 Max 9 jet blew off during an Alaska Airlines flight last week.

Earlier on Wednesday, Alaska Airlines calculated that its latest cancellations will equate to about 110-150 flights each day.

Related: Airlines United and Alaska find loose bolts on Boeing 737 Max 9 planes

News of the mass flight cancellations came after a video widely circulated online showed a hole in Alaska Airlines flight 1282 where a door panel had dramatically detached and fell off mid-flight between Portland, Oregon, and Ontario, California. The plane was a 737 Max 9.

Alaska Airlines said all flights on 737 Max 9 aircraft are cancelled as investigations are conducted by the plane model’s manufacturer, Boeing; the FAA; and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

As seen in the video, the incident earlier this month was chaotic, terrifying passengers on board. One teenager said his shirt was ripped off his body when the door plug blew off. Oxygen masks descended from the plane’s ceiling and a sharp breeze was felt throughout.

Passengers who spoke with CBS described the sound of the door plug flying off as a “really loud boom”.

Miraculously, the seat next to the plane’s gaping hole was empty, and everyone on board was safe after the flight was redirected back to Portland International Airport.

“This was a harrowing flight for our guests and crew, and we’re grateful that all individuals have been medically cleared,” Alaska Airlines said in an 8 January press release.

In an updated statement shared on 10 January, the airline company apologized to customers for the disruptions: “We regret the significant disruption that has been caused for our guests by cancellations due to these aircraft being out of service. However, the safety of our employees and guests is our highest priority and we will only return these aircraft to service when all findings have been fully resolved and meet all FAA and Alaska’s stringent standards.”

On Tuesday, Boeing made its first public statement acknowledging the dangerous incident on the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 plane.

Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, apologized for the US plane-maker’s errors and told staff the company would make sure an accident like the panel blowout “can never happen again”.

“We’re going to approach this, number one, acknowledging our mistake,” Calhoun said in a statement. “We’re going to approach it with 100% and complete transparency every step of the way.”

United Airlines, another major airline company that uses Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, has also temporarily grounded these planes, following FAA directives.

Airfares surge by 11%, says NBS report - PUNCH

JANUARY 11, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

The costs of air travel rose by 11.01 per cent in November when compared to the same period in the prior year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The NBS Transport Fare Watch report, obtained by our correspondent, indicated that the cost for a single journey soared N81,334.05 in November from N73,270.27 in November of the prior year.

The report stated, “On air travel, it stated that the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes for a single journey was N81,334.05 in November, showing an increase of 3.24 per cent compared to the previous month.

“On a year-on-year basis, the fare rose by 11.01 per cent from N73,270.27 in November of the prior year.”

Due to the security challenges across the country, many Nigerians have opted to travel by air.

Operators had attributed the rise in airfares to a hike in aviation fuel prices and foreign exchange scarcity in the country, which had shot up airlines’ operating costs.

Furthermore, the report noted that the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city per drop declined by 6.23 per cent from N1,117.30 in October to N1,047.63 in November.

However, on a year-on-year basis, it rose by 64.44 per cent from N637.10 in November 2022.

“The average transport fare paid on Okada transportation was N473.13 in November 2023, which declined by 6.74 per cent when compared with the value recorded in October 2023 (N507.30).

Halting temporary resident admissions would deepen Canada's recession: Report - YAHOO FINANCE

JANUARY 11, 2024

With Canada's economic prospects increasingly dependent on population growth, a new analysis by Desjardins says cutting the number of non-permanent residents (NPRs) allowed into the country could deepen the expected recession and subsequent recovery.

Canada's population has surged, with the most recent gain of 430,000 people in the third quarter of the year, marking the fastest pace of population growth in any quarter since 1957. As of Oct. 1, Canada's population was estimated to be 40.5 million. Population growth in the first nine months of the year has already surpassed the record set in the full year 2022. The growth has been fuelled by international migration, including a sharp increase in the number of NPRs admitted into the country.

Randall Bartlett, Desjardins' senior director of Canadian economics, analyzed the impact of dramatically increasing and decreasing the number of NPR admissions and found that "a sharp drop-off could deepen the recession expected in early 2024."

"Closing the door to temporary newcomers would deepen the recession expected in 2024 and blunt the subsequent recovery. It would similarly lower potential GDP," Bartlett wrote in the report released on Wednesday.

"Caution is warranted on the part of policymakers to minimize the economic downside of slowing newcomer arrivals too quickly. But it's not an easy balance to strike as sustained high NPR admissions could further strain provincial finances and housing affordability."

At the same time, if NPR admissions were to remain elevated and above the baseline projections, GDP growth would accelerate and would lead to a milder economic slowdown than currently anticipated, "possibly avoiding a recession altogether", Bartlett wrote. However, it would also present a challenge for the Bank of Canada in its goal of bringing inflation back to its two per cent target.

"Inflation would likely also be more elevated, complicating the Bank of Canada’s job and probably keeping rates higher for longer than they would be otherwise," Bartlett wrote.

It would also exacerbate the housing affordability crisis in Canada. Bartlett notes that "maintaining the current pace of newcomer arrivals will erode housing affordability further in the absence of a monumental increase in the supply of homes."

Why travellers could think twice about flying in a 737 Max - THE TELEGRAPH

JANUARY 11, 2024

BY  John Arlidge

Most of us don’t check what type of aircraft we’ll be flying on when we book an air ticket. But many of us will do so now after the latest terrifying incident involving a Boeing 737 Max jet.

The left rear “door plug” of an Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 9 en route from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, Californiablew out at 16,000ft last week as the jet was halfway through its climb to its cruising altitude. A door plug is a panel, with a window, that fills an unused emergency exit.

The sudden cabin decompression forced open the cockpit door and ripped off the co-pilot’s headset. It also sucked seat headrests, smartphones and even some passengers’ clothing into the icy void.

Despite the wind, cold and deafening noise, which made it hard for the pilots to contact air traffic control, the jet safely returned to Portland. None of the 171 passengers and six crew was killed or seriously injured. The two seats next to the door plug had been empty.

Shortly after the blow-out, emergency inspections revealed loose door plug bolts on other Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 planes. United Airlines found similar defects. Both airlines have grounded their fleets of Max 9s in accordance with a directive from the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Alaska Airlines accident came after the Boeing 737 Max 8 was grounded in 2019 for almost two years after two fatal crashes. Some 189 people died when a Lion Air 737 Max nose-dived into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta. Five months later, 157 were killed when an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

In its haste to get the Max 8 into production – to counter European rival Airbus’s dominance of the short-haul jet market – Boeing had concealed design flaws in flight control software from pilots and regulators, investigations revealed.What does the latest scare mean for UK travellers?

The good news is, no airlines operating from the UK fly the 737 Max 9, which is a longer version of the Max 8. Ryanair operates Max 8s, but this model has flown without any serious incidents worldwide since it was recertified in 2020 after its hardware and software were modified. I’ve travelled on the jet safely in the US and Mexico.

There are only 215 Max 9s in service globally – out of 1,300 Max jets – and 179 of those have a plugged door, according to aviation data firm Cirium. Alaska Airlines operates 65 Max 9s with plugged doors, while United’s fleet includes 79 of the type. Turkish Airlines, Panama’s Copa Airlines and Aeromexico have a handful each.

The consequences for US passengers are serious. Hundreds of Alaska and United flights are being cancelled.

For Boeing, the situation is dire. It had hoped the recertification of the Max 8 would put an end to its problems with its short-haul workhorse in all its variants. Now billions of dollars have – yet again – been wiped off the value of the company. Worse, it is likely to find it harder to increase production of all new aircraft as it races to take on Airbus. US regulators are likely to take longer to approve its new jets.

Even before the Alaska Airlines incident, Boeing was accused of poor manufacturing. Last month, the company warned about potential loose bolts in the rudder system of some of its Max jets. Production was halted last summer because of holes that had been incorrectly drilled on fuselages.

The head of America’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jennifer Homendy, revealed earlier this week that Alaska Airlines had previously restricted the aircraft involved in last week’s accident from flying over the ocean, after its automatic pressurisation warning light had come on three times in the past month.

As it begins its investigation, the NTSB says it does not suspect a design flaw. The type of door plug that failed has been used on older Boeing 737s since 2006 and has not suffered any serious issues. Investigators will focus on whether the door itself could have been faulty or whether it was bolted in place correctly. They will examine the plane itself, the lost door, which was found in a back garden in Oregon, the flight data recorder and maintenance records, as well as interviewing flight crew, maintenance staff and Boeing employees.

Lawmakers are also on the case. Republican senator JD Vance has called for the Senate Commerce Committee to convene a hearing to “evaluate incidents involving the 737 Max, Boeing’s engineering and safety standards, and the quality of oversight provided by the FAA and other relevant government agencies”. This is likely further to delay certification and production of new Boeing jets.

Delays to aircraft manufacturing are a problem for passengers as well as airlines. The longer airlines have to wait to increase the size of their fleet, the longer demand for air travel is likely to exceed the number of passengers an airline can carry – which means only one thing: higher fares.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has warned that his airline’s fares will rise because of manufacturing issues plaguing Boeing. “Capacity is heavily challenged… air fares, particularly peak summer, are going to be higher because there’s going to be less short-haul capacity around Europe,” he told the Financial Times earlier this week.

Henry Harteveldt, the president of Atmosphere Research in San Francisco, says “Once again, there’s a dark cloud hanging over the 737 MAX.” It does not look like it’s going away any time soon – for airlines or passengers.


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