More trouble exposed for Boeing’s 737 Max 8

| 06/01/2020 | 102 Comments
Cayman News Service
One of Cayman Airways’ new 737 Max 800 aircraft

(CNS): US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has admitted that another potential problem with the grounded 737 Max 8 aircraft was discovered during last month’s safety audit. Hundreds of these planes have been sitting in airports and hangers around the world since March last year in the wake of two fatal crashes in which a total of 346 people were killed. According to the latest reports from the US media, which have been confirmed, “previously unreported concerns” with the wiring on the plane have now been revealed.

Cayman Airways Ltd (CAL) has two Max 8 aircraft sitting on the ground at Owen Roberts International Airport and two more on order. During the recent Finance Committee hearings, CAL CEO Fabian Whorms told members of the Legislative Assembly that the national flag carrier had no plans to look at alternative aircraft to deal with the government company’s aging fleet.

Whorms admitted that having these planes on the ground was a major challenge that had blown up the budget, and it would be compounded by the need for at least one of the older planes the airline is relying on to be retired over the next few weeks.

Hopes that Boeing may have fixed the problem, which is believed to relate to the software, leading to the possible return to the skies have been shaken by the latest revelation. The New York Times was the first to report this new problem, which the aircraft manufacturer has confirmed.

Boeing told the FAA last month that it is looking into whether two sections of wiring that control the tail of the plane are too close together and could cause a short circuit — and potentially a crash — if pilots did not react appropriately.

Boeing has said, however, that it “would be premature to speculate” about whether the discovery would lead to more design changes or how it would impact the planes’ potential re-certification by the aviation authorities.

Following the firing of Boeing’s boss Dennis Mullenburd at Christmas, the new chief executive, David Calhoun, officially takes over next Monday and this will be item number one on what is likely to be a long list of challenges.

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Comments (102)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ok can we just clear some air here. Not one plane that comes out of a production plant ( Whether be Airbus or Boeing) are built with absolute perfection.

    The said to be better A320s and A320neos have had issues in the past with there being A320neo emergency landings occuring almost every month. The 3rd A320 ever built may I mention 1ST ever delivered crashed within a few days of delivery because of what “technical issues”. But what, Airbus did their best to get the A320s back to working order.

    The 787 Dreamliners themselves had a battery issue which caused them to be grounded for some time.

    Now I’m not saying what Boeing did was right and it caused lives to be lost, but Boeing has stop production, has postponed their 777X launch, has basically dropped all of what they were doing to try and get these planes fixed so WE as the public could fly safely again.

    I know my nonsense teenage brain might be an “ignoring ” point to everyone in this comment section . I lost friends to the second accident in Ethiopia but even I will fly the 737 MAX when she returns from this grounding.

    Thank You For Your Time

    • A C says:

      Yes, Airbus has had issues but we haven’t seen them falling out of the sky within a few months of purchase and killing 300+ people like Boeing planes.

      I am sure Airbus’ engineers don’t refer to the planes as “turds”, nor do the engineers swear never to put their families on one of them.

      Stop defending shoddy Max workmanship. Being used to be the best. Now even it’s employees are trashing the planes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Still not one peep out of the mouths from our good for nothing government about this…

    Moses, Alden do you think by just not saying anything it will go away?…Things changing man, times changing, unna better start coming clean..2021 not that far away..Hiding now is not going to help…

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is absolutely incredible how many aviation experts and consultants that we have living here in the Cayman Islands!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget also the best Pilots in the world ….

      • Anonymous says:

        Ya. So as a Caymanian its embarrassing to hear this rhetoric being regurgitated constantly. Its quite disrespectful to others in the industry. To compare Cayman’s very small pilot pool and fairly monotonous flight operations since the birth of the airline with that of larger airlines worldwide is nonsensical. We never hear that Caymanian pilots are “among” some of the best in the world but they are indeed the “best” Best by what standard ? The way I see it, the best pilot is the one flying me on a given day. I trust the airline and crew with my life, I would like them to return the favour and land me safely at my destination. Whether your european, african, south american etc it doesn’t matter. Whether its jet blue, air canada, american airlines, avianca or whichever airline.So long as your passionate about your job and professional in all aspects of the word, you are the best pilot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One good thing about all of this is that those planes will likely be the safest planes in the sky after all is said and done due to the scrutiny currently taking place

    • Anonymous says:

      All confidence is lost. We need other planes!

    • Anonymous says:

      You plainly do not understand the fundamental design flaw that cannot be “fixed” and is the reason for the MCAS system in the first place. The engines do not fit!

    • Anonymous says:

      Who knows when they’re telling the truth? They were suppose to be the safest thing in the air too. Before someone started telling the truth about all their flaws. I value my life and no way would I be foolhardy enough to get off the ground in one of those disasters.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Turn it into a theme bar and park them on the kaboo site

  6. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t we take legal action to get out of this lease? Boeing has been promising a fix only for us to find out they lied and have been trying to cover there tracks. Not to mention the new found issues and the fact that no matter what they do most of us will never get on one.

  7. Frequent flier says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the time has come that Cayman gets out of the airline business!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I couldn’t agree more we don’t need an airline that costs the country millions every year and is only so the employees, boards and politicians can fly for free in first class.

      • Anonymous says:

        Before these pronouncements of doom you should perhaps go and visit a few countries in the region who are forking out piles of money in subsidies to keep foreign carriers coming to their islands. It’s extortion and highway robbery.

        Cayman Airways is an insurance policy for our safety, economy and development which is still worth the pain and struggle.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t worry about the shithole countries. You’ve got United, American, BA, Southwest, etc. Downsize CA to run to the Brac and Little Cayman only and code share with the big people. Cut your losses to a couple of million instead of tens.

      • Anonymous says:

        Take away all the free flights for the politicians and their friends and the political will to keep CAL disappears.

    • Anonymous says:

      With all the airlines which now fly into Grand Cayman from many points in America, Toronto and London no longer a need to keep CAL an airline which loses over $30 million a year to the taxpayers of the Cayman Islands.

  9. Has Whorms given a reason that they’re not even looking at alternatives? There must surely be a coherent reason in there somewhere?
    Not that losing tons of money on aircraft that fly isn’t cool. And not that following through on an order for planes that aren’t safe isn’t awesome.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Minister responsible for Cayman Airways needs to make a public statement on the direction of Cayman Airways with these aircraft. These aircraft were leased not purchased. Surely the minister can negotiate with the leasing company to substitute other aircraft so that the airline can get on on with it’s business or worse case negotiate whatever the penalty is to get out of the lease. It has become very apparent after almost a year of these aircraft being grounded that this will go on for some time in the future.

    At some point, the B737-300 will have to be retired and then what? Moses needs to leave the damn cruise pier crap alone and work on something that Cayman really needs and supports..

    It is an outright disgrace how this government continues to ignore its people. I am so ready for 2021..

    • Anonymous says:

      Vote yes for the port! We don’t need any more stayover tourists..Our airport is already overloaded…get rid of Cayman Airways except for the Brac and build the pier and give us the big ships and more cruise ship passengers. don’t believe the crap that CPR says about stay over passengers spend more because it’s the cruise ship passengers that spend the most because there are more of them..Moses is my MLA, and I believe what he and the Premier tells us is the truth. Mose will build the port and will be our next Premier!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah right, the only thing Moses will end up with is moth balls. This right here folks is what Cayman people have come to. Following Moses or Alden like they are God and if you believe all the crap that spews from them you are in sad shape. The only thing you have right is that Moses will get elected again because he knows how to keep the Brackers happy like Mckeeva does in West Bay, bought and paid for votes. I seriously doubt he will be our next Premier but Lord help us if he does.

        Four turboprop airplanes plus jet service for an island where there is one hotel and the population hovers around 2000 people on a good day and where the majority of the people are employed by the government is sad statement to any politician’s record.

        Really Cayman aren’t we better than this?

      • Anonymous says:

        God forbid!

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol. You’re so delusional Trump looks sane.

      • Anon says:

        Who is this donkey?

    • Anonymous says:

      Alright leasing expert- thanks for your sage advice. It’s wonderful to see all the geniuses who are out there.

      Has it ever occurred to you that before leases are broken and decisions are made on directions with aircraft, a final call has to be made on the airworthiness of the plane. This isn’t an NAU funded apartment where you can wreck it and walk away and someone else pays. Or a rent a car which smells funny so you can just take it back and get another one.

      If CAL/CIG moves to break the lease prematurely, don’t you realise we will be doing Boeing the biggest favor ever and assuming the liability and cost for breaking the lease?

      • Anonymous says:

        These planes are currently NOT air worthy. Hence, why they are parked and not being used. The FAA along with other global government aviation authorities have banned these planes from their air space, all while CIG has a hole in the public purse. Now, if we are being held hostage by this lease agreement, then whoever negotiated the lease and had the final call should be fired. How can you not think of a clause to protect loss of revenue due to manufacturer defects? Doesn’t take a lawyer to think of that, GENIUS!

    • Anonymous says:

      You have seen nothing yet. When Roper gets his military here. you will see oppression. The government don’t care about Caymanians. They know your like cattle. Every election they bring a bag of feed you all will come running.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone understand why Cayman Airways management still touts, with large mobile staircase banners, visible to all in the departures area, that they/we are the first operator of 737 800 Max in the Caribbean? Isn’t it a year past time to peel those stickers off, or paint over them? Where are the adults on this first loser stuff? Dunces, man.

  12. Anonymous says:

    In April, CAL management had assured us they were looking at “all options”.

    Meanwhile, in August, Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer showed that there were 15 Air Lease-managed 737 Max 8s in storage with six global operators from which it continued to receive monthly rentals: Cayman Airways, Globus, LOT Polish Airlines, Oman Air, Smartwings and Sunwing Airlines.

    “To the extent that, any of those customers will demand concessions, please understand that we will look to Boeing to cover every dollar of any deficiency that might arise,” said ALC’s air lease executive Plueger. Air Lease considered that “the wisest thing to do was to convert 15 of our Max 8s and 9s into five additional 787-9s”. Safe to conclude none of those were delivered to CAL.

    The people of the Cayman Islands are getting screwed every which way because of the “secret” ego-driven lease contract signed between Moses Kirkconnell with ALC in 2016, and the continuing negotiating deficiencies subsequent to TWO calamitous accidents.

    • Anonymous says:

      So clearly from this article we are paying Air Lease every month for these planes that we can’t use…

      Who the hell is in charge? How much are we paying? Moses if this is true, your head will roll come next election and I am saying this as a Bracker. Couldn’t you at least ask them to allow us a lower lease payment to help stop the hemorrhaging of our cash.

      We are like fools out hiring Xtraair and World Atlantic when we should be trying to lease one or two other planes for ourselves.

      Somebody needs to come clean here and say something..This is absolutely nonsensical and the height of stupidity.

      Moses as my representative, I want to hear from you!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just looked at AirCraft24 and there are at least 10 B737-800 in the UAE that can be sourced. Can Fabian, Philip and the Village Crew not cut their losses and go see if we can source one of these????

  14. Anon says:

    This aircraft has precious little craft in it’s manufacture, and has lost all credibility with the flying public, except maybe for the army of CAL”s passengers on permanent freebies.

  15. Anonymous says:

    These max 737’s are goin to be just like buying a car and it being a LEMON !!!!!!!, however putting alot of lives in danger is the BIG difference….they will likely to continue to have problems after problem so find away to ditch them now !!!!! and make a switch to a proven model or the carrier itself will also suffer

  16. Anonymous says:

    If the leadership at CAL can’t see that the MAX 8 is a disaster then we need a change in leadership at CAL. It is time for the country to make smart decisions about the money that we are spending on CAL.

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember that Fabian Whorms is a trained mechanic. Was elevated to CEO with ZERO leadership or management skills. The entire senior management team at CAL is a farce.

      • Anonymous says:

        classic cayman civil service promotion

        • Anonymous says:

          1:13 sorry bobo CAL is not part of our world class civil service. Perhaps they should be.

        • Anonymous says:

          Boy unna swtich for anything. Ya’ll was claiming him as Jamaican when he was promoted though. LOL. And most of his experience came though the now defunct Air Jamaica.

  17. Anonymous says:

    minister of tourism should no have gone all in, with these planes. they should have been smarter and did half and half. I mean, sure. Service time is increased and running costs a bit more. But at least you have two options. Instead of saying “ya lets just buy one kind” and have a ticker tape parade that was done and over quicker than the boeing jets were in service.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t these planes come with a warranty of some sort? If they can’t fly, why do we have to keep them? That’s people “we can trust” kind of government! Bragging about these 4 big ass planes we were gonna have. Yeh, no good on earth! Kinda matches our government.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Flying the Max 8’s are just barely safer than driving in Cayman.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yea no good saw the problem n styl went and purchased them must want kill our cayman ppl get different planes n not those

  21. Anonymous says:

    In June 2019, American Airlines switched to Airbus A321XLR with order of 50 new aircraft and 30 retrofit kits for existing. CAL Exec suite sat on their hands with 2 of 3 paperweights delivered to the most corrosive place above water, and a duplicate fleet cost with antique aircraft, breaking every other day. See 12 hr delay for Jamaica passengers.

    • Anonymous says:

      The overpaid Pilots dont like Airbus they say, and what they say goes. They make double of any other carrier and work 50-60 hours a month.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interestingly, it’s the Jamaica flights that suffer the most…

      • Anonymous says:

        Which are also the flights that are always fully booked and run all year round … i.e. the most profitable route …

  22. Anonymous says:

    Can we please have the A320s? I love those. I’ve been using JetBlue and American’s A320s recently and I’d take them any day over the 737 Max.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:54 The A320 is also experiencing a few problems. Specifically, numerous smoke/fume incidents. Can’t trust anything now can you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, they have an immaculate record…….Except for those that disintegrated in midair for still to date, unknown reasons.

      • Anonymous says:

        And these happened when exactly? Only mid air disintegration I can think off was the Egyptian crash, and that was a bomb. Not unexplained, and one crash rather than “those…”

    • Anon345 says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice and definitely more comforting to fly on a plane that is safer! Every day the ones we are relying on now are breaking down. Everyday it gets scarier to fly on one of those planes. It’s like they are waiting for one to crash before they do something! I hate the way they are playing with our lives and our money!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree with this. Have been flying on KX since the days of the early pair of 727’s . Recently went to Toronto on the AC Embraer 190 . Whilst smaller than the 737 / Airbus , I wondered why they weren’t a consideration for KX when it was a deciding factor on going with the Max-8’s or another choice. Just because you have always done one thing , doesn’t mean you cant change to a different thing.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why haven’t we heard about Cayman Air pursuing Boeing for compensation? Are there some connected folks in the middle of arrangement complicating a direct claim?

    • Anonymous says:

      The bigger follow-on question should be: why the public hasn’t been able to scrutinize the 2016 agreement signed between Moses and Air Lease Corp (ALC), even after the ink dried 4 years ago? Public-funded entities don’t have the right to redact their agreements and terms indefinitely like this…well, anywhere else but in the corrupt Cayman Islands it would seem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, the planes are leased.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes which I believe is pretty standard for the industry….does this preclude Cayman Airways from pursuing compensation from lessor or at least breaking lease and moving on with another option? Or maybe someone got a big finders fee for the contract?

  24. Anonymous says:

    We, and every other airline in the world, knew months ago that it was always more than a software problem. It’s hard to imagine how CAL exec could not be keeping on top of the news flow concerning the problems, when it costs so much to warehouse them idle, AND operate the unreliable replacements. Boeing took a 40 year old aircraft type, extended the fuselage to fit more seats, and bolted bigger, and heavier engines too far forward, then created MCAS software to override the inherent mechanical pitch issues and prevent stalling. Using single source pitot tube hardware, proven now to be tragically unreliable, engine design, and the tail wiring problem is just another in a long list of hardware headaches that won’t go away with new software. Further, I would be very concerned about pilot expressions that, “they’ll fly these tomorrow”, as it suggests they don’t fully understand the severity of the design faults that can’t be remedied with a CPU reflash.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Take them apart and ship them back to where they came from in pieces. Or sink them next to the Kittiwake for a dive site.

    • Anonymous says:

      12.58 Good idea. Just buy outghe Cayman Airaays contract and then you can do it. Probably get you an award from CPR for creating new dive site (afterall they will be controlling the next Government).

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t know which of you is the bigger ass but you both in my mind are neck and neck…ugh!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m not flying on these planes ever..You are welcome to experience being crash dummies..

  27. Anonymous says:

    CAL Does not have to leave Boeing- what it does have to do is get rid of the Max 8’s once and for all as there was NO NEED to buy brand new airplanes. What CAL can do is source the 800 series such as they had in their fleet recently or even the 500 or 700 series. All 3 types can be sourced with average age of 15 years (which is not bad for an aircraft). Time for the Chairman, CEO and board to come down off their high horses- total bad management for KX.

    • Anonymous says:

      In October, the FAA discovered that 5%, or more, of inspected 737 NG’s (700, 800, 900) had structural cracks which ought to have grounded them as well. Brand new planes flown by 100’s of airlines. The only reason they haven’t been formally grounded as well, is because more of them haven’t crashed yet. I don’t want my family flying on any of these.

    • Anonymous says:

      CAL did not buy these planes.They leased them. They need to find a way out of the lease but knowing our good for nothing government they have already gotten their little back pocket money and can’t go back to the company that leased them..

  28. Calvin Christion says:

    When CAL was taken delivery of the first 737Max I posted that they should take it around the block for a spin to make certain that everything would be ok, but I guess they didn’t hear me. May be they should have taken it around the block twice. Just saying. Time to switch to Airbus.

    • Anonymous says:

      My family and I were on one of the first passenger flights to Orlando. Looking back, we thank our lucky stars we made it okay. Despite the racist posts circulating, which presume that all foreign pilots are somehow inferior trained/equipped, the NTSB’s own DCA19RA017/DCA19RA101 reports outlined the exact MCAS upset recovery procedure followed by both deceased Lion and Ethiopian pilot sets. The Ethipiopian air pilots had taken the optional directive training that was issued following Li610 and was one of the first airlines in the world to receive 737-800 practice simulators. Didn’t matter.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Please buy some Embraer 195’s or Airbus A220’s now CAL. If it’s a Boeing 737, I ain’t going. That manufacturer has broken my trust with its 737 production.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ditch Boeing and go with Airbus A220’s. Biggest selling medium range plane in 2019.

      • Anonymous says:

        2:10 And the A320 is also experiencing a few problems. Specifically, numerous smoke/fume incidents. Can’t trust anything now can you?

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that were $%#@ed by the “secret’ lease deal CAL/CIG made with Aircraft Lease Co in 2016.

    • Anonymous says:

      You could not fly the Embraers to Jamaica and carry all the luggage. Fact.

    • Anonymous says:

      Embraer is owned by Boeing..

      A220 is a repurposed Canadair jet bought by Airbus which has its share of problems as well. There are none that are absolutely safe…although flying is still the safest way to travel.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Possibly time now for CAL to cut their losses and go Airbus. There is no set date for the reintroduction of the 737 Max, so make a little phone call to Mr. Boeing, say sorry, deals off, join the group libel action by other airlines in the same situation and move on quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      They may have left it too late. The back orders from the other manufacturers are so big, it may be many years before aircraft ordered now are available. CAL bet big on the MAX, and then when the problems arose, they doubled down. The airline may not be able to survive as a result. Political involvement and pride may have been its downfall. They flew too close to the sun.

    • Anonymous says:

      An Airbus (or even Boeing) order now would be at least 4 years for delivery.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could be years, if ever. FAA discovered that 5% or more of inspected 737 NG’s (700, 800, 900) had structural cracks which ought to have grounded them as well. Brand new planes flown by 100’s of airlines. The only reason they haven’t been formally grounded as well, is because more of them haven’t crashed yet. I don’t want my family flying on any of these.

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