Boeing completes first flight of 737 Max 10
June 22, 2021
Boeing’s 737 Max 10, the largest model in the 737 Max family, successfully completed its first flight on 18 June. The flight, from Renton Field in Renton, Washington to Boeing Field in Seattle, kicks off a comprehensive test programme for the variant, the Chicago-based airframer says in a same-day statement. It adds: “Boeing will work closely with regulators to certify the airplane prior to its scheduled entry into service in 2023.” 737 chief pilot Jennifer Henderson states: “The profile we flew allowed us to test the airplane's systems, flight controls and handling qualities, all of which checked out exactly as we expected." According to Boeing, the 737 Max 10 can carry up to 230 passengers and incorporates environmental improvements. Compared to 737NGs, carbon emissions are 14% lower and noise reduced by 50%. Stan Deal, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes states: “The [737 Max 10] is an important part of our customers' fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane.”

FAA launches aircraft safety whistleblower programme
June 22, 2021
The US Federal Aviation Administration on 21 June announced the launch of a Voluntary Safety Reporting Program, aiming to give the 7,400 aviation professionals who oversee companies on behalf of the agency to confidentially report safety concerns without fear of reprisal. The safety reporting programme meets new legal requirements enacted in December following congressional scrutiny of the FAA's certification of Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The new law requires the FAA to take numerous steps to tighten safety oversight following congressional investigations that lax agency regulation failed to address safety gaps that contributed to two fatal Max crashes during which 346 people died. The FAA in August published an independent survey in which the agency's Aviation Safety organisation representatives at companies reported feeling "strongly pressured by industry to meet their production deadlines" and feared being punished if they reported safety concerns that could delay projects they are overseeing. "An open, non-punitive and confidential reporting system allows the agency to address safety sensitive issues that may otherwise have gone unnoticed due to fear of repercussion," the FAA states. The safety reporting programme comes as the FAA faces ongoing scrutiny for its decision to return Max jets to the skies and calls from Congress to tighten its oversight of manufacturing safety at Boeing. While FAA administrator Steve Dickson has defended his decision to lift the flight ban against Max aircraft in November, he says in a statement that “we can never be satisfied with the status quo when it comes to safety". "The free exchange of vital information is a cornerstone of safety and continual improvement,” Dickson says. “We want our employees to know that when they speak up, they can be sure someone is listening.” The FAA says the Voluntary Safety Reporting Program will complement the agency's existing reporting programmes for safety concerns. The agency worked with unions that represent Aviation Safety employees to structure the confidential safety reporting programme including the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists.

Germany eases travel restrictions for US residents
June 21, 2021
Germany is ceasing travel restrictions for US residents in the wake of the European Union Council's 18 June recommendation that EU members lift restrictions for residents from the USA, among other countries. The German government's Missions USA website states that Germany is "lifting all travel restrictions" for US residents beginning 20 June. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination, proof of recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test result will still be required for entry via air travel. Travellers from the USA will no longer be required to register digitally for entry or quarantine upon arrival in Germany. United Airlines in July intends to operate 645 direct flights connecting the USA with Germany, data shows. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines will each operate 62 flights connecting the two countries. "United Airlines applauds Germany following its decision to reopen to vaccinated or tested US tourists," the Chicago-based carrier states. "United offers more flights to Germany than any other US airline, and is the only US airline currently serving Munich."


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