FAA’s clearance doesn’t release CAL’s Max 8s

| 18/11/2020 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Airways Max 8 aircraft at ORIA (Photo by Paul Tibbetts)

(CNS) UPDATED with CAACI statement: News on Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States had given the green light for Boeing’s troubled 737 Max aircraft to resume passenger flights is only the first step in a long road to the planes returning to service. Cayman Airways officials welcomed the recertification but said it has not change anything yet for the airline’s own aircraft.

The planes were grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within a five month period, attributed to a problem in the flight control system. At the time Cayman Airways had just begun replacing its aging fleet with the new planes. While the first Max aircraft had been flying for just a few months, the second of four that the airline had acquired on lease arrived just days before the Ethiopian crash.

The situation has caused significant additional financial loss for Cayman Airways in a year in which COVID-19 has severely damaged the airline industry.

“While CAL welcomes this significant milestone towards the aircraft returning to service in the United States, the FAA recertification completion does not immediately result in any changes for Cayman Airways,” officials said.

They pointed to the chain of regulators that will need to give their approval before the national flag carrier can begin using its two grounded Max 8 planes.

“CAL remains in close communication with its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI), who will ultimately make the final decision on any ungrounding of the 737-8 Max aircraft in the Cayman Islands. It is expected that a CAACI determination on the matter will occur in conjunction with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority ungrounding,” the airline explained.

On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands said the order enables the grounding of the Maxs to be reversed after the applicable return to service requirements were satisfactorily completed.

“The decision by the FAA signifies the first step in the return to service for Max aircraft after its extensive safety review process, however, the CAACI will continue to liaise with Boeing, the UK Aviation Authorities in conjunction with EASA on return to service strategies for Cayman registered Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft,” the local regulators stated. “The CAACI will work closely with CAL and other operators to ensure
that the mandated Airworthiness Directive (AD) and additional crew training requirements stipulated by the US Authorities are carried out.”

In the United States the FAA has said it still requires a series of design changes and new training for pilots, as well as maintenance requirements for airlines.

Over the last 20 months since the planes were grounded, a number of troubling facts have emerged. Boeing admitted it knew there were problems with the planes before the crashes but failed to take action. A “culture of concealment” at Boeing also emerged during investigations, as well as a rush to develop the new planes, which led to corner cutting. The close relationship between Boeing and the FAA, which was also widely criticised, led to the certification of the planes and what the US Congress found to be “grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA”.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Boeing said the move would allow airlines that are under the FAA’s jurisdiction to take the steps necessary to resume service and Boeing to begin making deliveries.

“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said Boeing CEO David Calhoun. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”

Stan Deal, president and CEO of of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the company would work with regulators around the world to return the airplane into service worldwide.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t realize Cayman had so many aircraft engineers and mechanics.

    Boeing and Airbus should posts ads here on CNS when they are designing new aircraft or simply need some consultancy work done.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, now you know…that Cayman has so many aircraft engineers and mechanics…an inexhaustible well of folk wisdom…

    • Anonymous says:

      Airbus has had its fair share of problems too, many of which has not had this much media attention. This incident with Boeing despite its fatal consequences has shaken up the aircraft manufacturing business and I don’t think the FAA will allow this to ever happen again.

      Every manufacturer is in business for profit, call it greed or whatever you like and we can choose not to support those people but unfortunately, we would starve to death if we applied that same thought process to everything in life.

      • Anonymous says:

        If anything, it demonstrates how politicized safety regulation is, and how they can be satisfied with fines, time, and partial solutions from determined lobbyists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reading any of the thousands of articles published on the subject in the last two years, only makes readers relative truth seekers in contrast to those that couldn’t be bothered. Those in the later category seem to regurgitate Trumpian line that this 2 year global sidelining was simply due a software problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        Geesh, you have to stop regurgitating stupidity! There are three sides to every story, pick one. All this foolishness about “Trumpian lines” just puts you in one category.

        We need to put the Trump era behind us and start positively thinking about the future. Trump is over, done!!!…Stop regurgitating his name . People are tired of it..Trying to justify your position by saying that if I have a difference in opinion from you that I am like Trump only goes to show the shallowness and small mindedness of your side.

    • Anonymous says:

      how about using max 8s to transport all the covid-19 vaccine in the world?
      💉 🦠 ✈️ 💥

  2. Anonymous says:

    The truth of the matter of these planes is that they are based on a foundational design that is near 50 years old. Its all about cost savings. They’ve put engines on that are too large for the plane, so they’ve had to reposition them forward, and create software that corrects a known problem with airflow.

    It’s quite staggering really. Now, the likelihood is that the software will not fail again.

    But this ignores the fact that in the rush for short term gains, Boeing simply went ahead with 50 year old planes.

    When they really could have just spent the last 10 years building a new one. Or re-engineer the 757 which is pretty much everyones fave.

    If i was Cayman Airways, despite the very real likelihood that these planes will never have the same problem again after all the focus on it, I’d get away from them and move to Airbus. The stigma of the Max will stop some flying, but it will also cause nearly every passenger unnecessary (and additional) stress and worry.

    Why do this to us?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, that sounds very easy..Will you help them negotiate their way out of the contracts with the MAX and help them find similarly priced A320/1’s? It’s not as easy as you think.

      Boeing is looking for some good engineers to retrofit the B757 if your interested.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I won’t be flying on that type again. The software was installed specifically to overcome stalling issues from extending a 60 year old airframe, short-track certificatation and training, and to overcome hardware and structural problems they’re going to let slide until the next headline loss of life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Incorrect, the software was to give it similar handling characteristics to the older models so that little new training would be necessary.

      • Anonymous says:

        A system that failed and exaggerated its intended effect and could not be tamed. 346 people involuntarily became test subjects. The crew also became operational test pilots to try and solve a failure that they were never trained to expect. Keep that in mind technobot.

  4. Say it like it is says:

    8.29pm I suppose you cannot wait to fly on one of these aircraft. Fortunately I read that American will not fly them to Cayman.You state that “price will always be the decision maker”, but totally missed the irony in that comment.It was “price” that doomed those hundreds of passengers who lost their lives, not the price they paid for the tickets but the price Boeing paid to save as many dollars as possible with the Max, to add to their profits, in producing a lethally deficient aircraft.
    No matter how “safe” the Max may now be, Boeing and the FAA have lost all credibility in the minds of most flyers and I for one will never fly the Max, to register my protest to the worship of the almighty dollar at any cost, and to show respect to all those passengers who will never have the choice to fly again and to their families who have endured so much anguish.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can suppose what you want but I will not live in fear of a machine. The only one I live in fear of is God and that is a good fear.

      There have been many aircraft that have had to undergo severe scrutiny, changes in mechanical components and the only reason these two stand out is because the two incidents happened so close together. The Airbus 330, another solidly built aircraft was plagued with design features and we cannot forget the Air France A330 crash that killed almost 230 people. This was due to faulty components on the aircraft and pilot error just like the two MAX jets. I say this not to minimize the enormity or the terrible amount of lives lost but to say that air travel still remains the safest form of travel.

      Believe me when your time comes, you cannot time it. You may get on that other airplane to avoid the MAX jet and it crashes and kills you.

      My best guess is that you fear the Covid-Vaccine and would rather die of Covid than take it.

      Life happens, death happens..if we spend the rest of our lives revolving around phobias and conspiracy theories we will be wasting some of the best times of our lives.

      • Anonymous says:

        …you fear the Covid-Vaccine and would rather die of Covid…


        What could possibly go wrong on a never used DNA altering rushed vaccine?

        • Anonymous says:

          Apparently disease enhancement means ian inadequately tested vaccine may actually help Covid kill you. Ironic really.

          • Anonymous says:

            and you know that, how? If you answer is based on conjecture and phobia, don’t bother..

            The world has been cured for the most part of some very debilitating and horrible diseases such as polio, mumps, measles, chicken pox etc..you were probably vaccinated as a child for these diseases as most people were. What if your parents and their parents decided that vaccines would kill us?

            No one knows when their time will come to leave this earth. We all have the choice as to whether or not we take the vaccine but spreading inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims in order to stop other people from making their own decisions is wrong.

      • Say it like it is says:

        9.59pm Idiotic comments happen as well. The reasons I gave for not flying the Max have nothing to do with the current rating of the aircraft, rather the greed of the manufacturer with the FAA in cahoots with them, something that Airbus did not suffer from.
        I have no idea what the Covid vaccine has to do with this subject, perhaps you should discuss that with your God.

      • Cheese Face says:

        “The only one I live in fear of is God and that is a good fear.” ***All fear the angry sky fairy***!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree. Stop shopping at Amazon also. Bezo is too rich while small shops as well as medium sized are out of business. Besides, Amazon is a perfect platform to sell counterfeits, fake and downright things that should only be sold at flea markets. Amazon carbon footprint is enormous and its distribution centers employees expected to work as robots.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not sure how shopping on Amazon is equivalent to tragic and avoidable loss of life from the Max 8 crashes and the causes thereof. SMH.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well… we have to justify unnecessary levels of bureaucracy Don’t we? The Cayman Islands Civil Aviation Authority must know better than the European and American regulators?

  6. Anonymous says:

    lol no one is actually going to get in these ever again

    • Anonymous says:

      Are we going to have a choice?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes if you don’t fly CAL to the USA. And check routes other airlines fly these flying dodo birds before you purchase a ticket.

        • Anonymous says:

          yeah right, everyone is going be searching up types of aircraft operating on routes to avoid flying the Max..This has become silly now. I n a few years when these airplanes have had enough time to prove themselves we will have forgotten about searching them up. There are many times when these planes are swamped around on different routes, so you might book a A320 today for a flight in January, only to board it in Miami or wherever and find the airline has swapped equipment to a Max..

          People get over this, don’t fly on them if you don’t want to..Nobody is forcing you to fly on them but consistently putting out the scaremongering and conspiracy theories to scare other people into believing the way you do is ridiculous.

          In my opinion, and I could be wrong but this will probably end up being one of the safest aircrafts flying once it is fully re-introduced.

          I never stopped driving my Honda Accord when Honda recalled it for replacement airbags because there were multiple fatalities with that particular model. I took it back to the dealer and they made it whole for me. I’m still driving it today and it runs like a clock. Parking it and saying I will never drive a Honda Accord again and screaming to everyone on CNS to never drive one again, never came to my mind..

          • Anonymous says:

            Good luck flying them or being a passenger on them sir!

          • anon says:

            1.47pm What nonsense are you talking – the issue was with the airbag manufacturer and affected dozens of different cars which all had airbag replacement calls. Honda unlike Boeing had zero involvement in the defective design of this component.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that American and Southwest are the largest owners of these aircraft. Cayman Airways only has two, possibly in the future, 4. There is a good chance that even if you avoid flying one of these say up to Miami chances are that connecting flights out of Miami on American or Southwest will most likely be on a B737-MAX. When was the last time you flew on an aircraft based on the type of aircraft? Price will always be the decision maker.

      With the EUASA, the UKCAA, the local CAA and the FAA having to recertify these aircrafts they are probably the most safe airplanes in circulation now. I don’t know any other time when an aircraft came under that much scrutiny and recertification.

      It is everyone decision to decide what aircraft they want to fly on but I don’t think the world would recertify these airplanes if they thought they would perform the same way they did prior to all the work carried out on them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, we “wouldn’t think”, pretty much sums it up. Boeing presumed that their recommended by optional Max8 supplemental MCAS training notice would somehow be assertive and instructional enough within the pilot community to avoid a second crash…but we now know that it crashed nonetheless by pilots that had taken that training, and with an airline that was among the first to take delivery of updated MAX 8 simulators. There are also dozens of other scary pilot situations now reported on that type across many airlines and skill levels round the world…including AA. Many of these airlines don’t have the pilot simulators even now. Software and training does not overcome fundamental structural and hardware issues, nor does it repeal the laws of physics. All it does is get the cash registers singing again.

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