More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tesla value hits $100 bn, triggering payout plan for Musk

Yahoo – AFP, January 22, 2020

Tesla chief Elon Musk, during the delivery ceremony for the firm's China-made
Model 3 in Shanghai in January 2020 (AFP Photo/STR)

New York (AFP) - Tesla's market value hit $100 billion for the first time Wednesday, triggering a payout plan that could be worth billions for Elon Musk, founder and chief of the electric carmaker.

Shares in Tesla rose some 4.8 percent in opening trade to extend the gains in the value of the fast-growing maker of electric vehicles.

Under a compensation plan approved by Telsa's board in 2018, Musk is to be paid in stock awards based on the value of the company, which could be worth as much as $50 billion if Tesla reaches $650 billion.

Musk agreed to the plan, which would pay him nothing until Tesla's value reached $100 billion.

The package, using shares which "vest" based on certain criteria, gives Musk stock worth around one percent of the company for each of 12 milestones over a 10-year period.

For achieving the first milestone, Musk will get shares worth $346 million if Tesla shares hold above $100 billion over six months, based on the formula.

In announcing the plan in March 2018, the company said Musk "would receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind -- no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time" without the rise in value.

In 2019, Tesla sold some 367,000 vehicles, a rise of 50 percent from the prior year.

That is a fraction of the 10 million sold by leading global automakers Toyota and Volkswagen, but investors have pushed up Tesla's value in the expectation that it is changing the industry.

Tesla has begun manufacturing in China and has announced a new plant in Germany that could start production by 2021.

The Tesla Model 3 electric car is designed to be more affordable than its earlier models -- around half the cost of the $70,000 models -- and is fueling expectations of stronger growth.

Analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities offered an upbeat view of Tesla in a research note Wednesday.

"In our opinion, the company has the most impressive product roadmap out of any technology/auto vendor around (which the market cap reflects vs. its traditional auto competitors) and will be a 'game changing' driving force for the EV (electric vehicle) transformation over the next decade with Model 3 front and center," Ives said.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Anger and grief as Canada remembers Iran plane crash victims

Yahoo – AFP, January 13, 2020

A woman cries during a ceremony in Toronto for the 57 Canadians killed when a
Ukrainian airliner crashed in Iran (AFP Photo/Geoff Robins)

Toronto (Canada) (AFP) - Thousands of people attended vigils Sunday in Canada for the 57 Canadian victims of the Ukrainian airliner crash in Iran, most of them from the Iranian community.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a memorial event in Edmonton that "this tragedy struck our Iranian-Canadian community, leaving cities like Edmonton reeling, but this was truly a Canadian tragedy."

"We want to assure all families and all Canadians that we will not rest until there are answers," he said. "We will not rest until there is justice and accountability."

Six university students were killed when the Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed on January 8, shortly after takeoff from Tehran's airport.

All 176 people aboard were killed, 57 of whom were Canadian, many of them dual Iranian nationals.

A woman weeps during a memorial service at the University of Toronto (AFP 
Photo/Geoff Robins)

Iran has since admitted the airliner was mistakenly shot down by Iranian missiles.

At a ceremony at the University of Toronto, many of those who had been close to the victims expressed their grief and anger.

"It's a story that resonates with the people, these immigrants with a lot of hopes and dreams. They worked super hard, they were high achievers and they get here only to be shot down in the middle of the air," said Ali Esnaashani.

"I'm angry, I'm sad," the 30-year-old told AFP. "But I also feel inspired to see the community come together like this."

On stage, Mehrdad Ariannejad, head of the Canadian-Iranian cultural dialogue nonprofit Tirgan, began to cry during his speech.

"Shock has given way to grief and increasingly anger," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during a memorial ceremony in 
Toronto for the Canadian victims of the Ukraine International Airlines crash (AFP 
Photo/Geoff Robins)

"We must demand justice from the Islamic Republic authorities and demand answers and compensation for the negligence and lack of regard for human life that has led to this tragedy."

Canada is home to a major Iranian diaspora. In 2016, 210,000 Canadians claimed Iranian origins, according to official figures.

Half of them live in Toronto, which has one of the most significant Iranian communities in North America after Los Angeles.

Hola, 50, who knew one of the victims, could not hold back her tears. "I'm happy that the Canadian government promised to follow through and find justice for these people, for the families and loved ones," she said.

"Nothing will ever replace these brilliant lives that have been cut short," said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in Toronto. "We will always bear these scars."

Monday, January 13, 2020

Canada voices concern over Iran's arrest of British ambassador

Yahoo – AFP, January 12, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (AFP Photo/Dave Chan)

Ottawa (AFP) - Canada and several other countries with nationals killed in the shootdown of a civilian airliner called on Tehran Sunday to abide by its international commitments after Iranian authorities briefly arrested the British ambassador.

"We call on Iran to uphold the Vienna Convention," Canada's foreign ministry said, referring to a 1961 international treaty that sets out protections from harassment for foreign diplomats.

Canada issued the statement after a call among representatives of countries whose citizens were among the 176 people killed when a Ukrainian airliner was hit by an Iranian missile January 8.

The group formed by Canada in the wake of the disaster includes Britain, Ukraine, Sweden and Afghanistan.

"All countries on the call noted their concern that the British ambassador to Tehran was temporarily detained by Iranian officials following his attendance at a vigil for the victims of flight PS752," the statement said.

Iran earlier Sunday confirmed it briefly arrested Rob Macaire, the British ambassador, for attending an "illegal gathering" -- a charge he has denied.

The European Union and France criticized Tehran for the arrest as well.

On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "outraged and furious" over the shootdown, demanding a full investigation and for Tehran to assume responsibility for the tragedy, including financial compensation.

Iran's leaders admitted on Saturday that Iranian forces accidentally shot down the airliner after mistaking it for a cruise missile.

Trudeau is expected in Edmonton, Alberta Sunday to attend a memorial service for the 57 Canadian victims of the disaster. About a dozen were from Edmonton.

The prime minister, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, is expected to speak at the event.

Another ceremony has been scheduled Sunday at the University of Toronto. The city is home to the largest Iranian community in Canada.

Numerous funerals have been held across the country in recent days as Canadians grieve the deaths.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Yahoo – AFP, Stuart WILLIAMS, January 11, 2020

An Iranian holds a newspaper with a picture of the debris of the Ukrainian plane
that crashed in Tehran on January 8, 2020, outside a news stand in the Islamic
republic's capital (AFP Photo/ATTA KENARE)

Paris (AFP) - When a Boeing passenger jet crashed in Iran early on January 8, speculation immediately swirled that the only plausible explanation was that it had been shot down by Iran.

The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight came hours after Tehran had launched a barrage of missiles at bases housing American troops in Iraq, retaliating for the killing of commander Qasem Soleimani in a US strike.

Immediately, theories multiplied arguing that Tehran's air defence system, on high alert for possible US retaliation, may have been triggered by accident.

Western leaders cited intelligence pointing to an accidental strike by Iran. Verified video images later emerged showing a missile striking a plane.

From Wednesday to Friday, Iranian officials repeatedly insisted that the plane had not been shot down. Early on Saturday however, the Islamic republic admitted that the plane had been hit by a short-range missile in what President Hassan Rouhani described as a "catastrophic mistake".

Ukrainian passenger jet crash in Iran (AFP Photo)

What happened on January 8?

The Boeing 737-800NG for UIA's flight PS752 between Tehran and Kiev took off from Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6:12 am local time.

Although there was no distress message from the pilot, the plane had begun to turn back for the airport before crashing at 6:18 am, said the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization. The aircraft came down near Sabashahr on the outskirts of Tehran.

There were 10 departures from Tehran airport that day before flight PS752, according to the Flight Radar 24 monitoring site. That raised questions as to why air traffic had not been halted given the situation.

All 176 people on board the flight PS752 -- mainly Iranians and Canadians, including dual nationals, but also Ukrainians, Afghans, Britons and Swedes -- were killed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first major leader to publicly 
state Iran could be to blame for the plane crash (AFP Photo/Dave Chan)

How did pressure grow?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first major leader to publicly state Iran could be to blame. He said Canada had intelligence from multiple sources "including our allies and our own intelligence" that indicated "the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile."

"This may well have been unintentional," Trudeau added.

His language was echoed by other Western leaders including Dutch Premier Mark Rutte, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

US President Donald Trump said he had "suspicions" as "somebody could have made a mistake", and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said the United States believed it was "likely" that an Iranian missile downed the airliner.

The New York Times also said it had verified a video appearing to show a missile hitting a plane at night above the Tehran suburb of Parand, west of the airport.

What did Iran initially say?

For three days, Iranian officials refused to countenance any suggestion that one of its missiles had brought down the plane.

The country's civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh said that one "thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile", arguing that it would have exploded immediately if hit by a missile.

Experts questioned that claim, arguing that such missiles explode before coming into contact with the target.

This handout photograph taken and released on January 11, 2019, by The 
National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, shows people analysing 
the remains of the Ukraine International Airlines plane Boeing 737-800 that
crashed outside Tehran (AFP Photo/STR)

What does Iran now admit?

In an announcement early Saturday that took many experts by surprise, Iran admitted it had "unintentionally" shot down the jet after a missile operator mistook the plane for a cruise missile.

Tehran said its systems had been on high alert for American retaliation in the hours after the Iranian strikes on bases housing US troops in Iran.

"He had 10 seconds to decide," the aerospace commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said of the operator, who he insisted had "acted alone".

"He could have decided to strike or not to strike and under such circumstances he took the wrong decision."

Rouhani called it an "unforgivable mistake", vowed that compensation would be paid to the families while those responsible would be prosecuted.

What kind of missile was used?

Unverified images posted on social media show the remains of a Russian-made Tor M-1 missile but Tehran has yet to give details on the kind of weaponry used.

Tehran received 29 such air defence systems from Moscow under a $700 million contract signed in 2005, a deal that caused considerable unease in the West.

The Bellingcat open-source analytics website has said the origin of the images is yet to be determined, and the people who captured the images have not come forward.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, pictured on January 9, 2020 in a 
presidential press handout photo placing flowers at a memorial for the victims 
of the Ukraine International Airlines crash in Tehran, has toughened his stance 
on Iran (AFP Photo/HO)

What does Ukraine want now?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, initially wary of blaming Tehran, has toughened his line since Tehran's admission.

After Zelensky spoke to Rouhani later Saturday, the Ukrainian presidency said that Zelensky asked Tehran to allow the bodies of the 11 Ukrainian victims to be repatriated "by January 19".

He added that Ukrainian diplomats had produced a list of steps to be taken to "resolve the compensation issue".

Despite the three days of denial from Tehran, some have compared its reaction favourably to that from Moscow over the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Although the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team says a Russian-made BUK missile fired by pro-Russian separatists was to blame, Russia still denies any involvement.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ukraine plane crash another challenge for Boeing

Yahoo – AFP, John BIERS, January 8, 2020

Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers
crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning
on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board (AFP Photo)

New York (AFP) - The latest tragic plane crash involving another Boeing aircraft adds to the travails facing the company after its 737 MAX was grounded nearly a year ago following two deadly crashes.

Details were limited Wednesday about the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines plane, a Boeing 737-800, near Tehran that killed 176 people.

Yet the latest bad news involving a Boeing plane weighed on company shares, which were down 1.3 percent at $332.77 in early-afternoon trading.

The incident could hardly have come at a worse time for Boeing, which is still reeling from two MAX crashes that killed 346 people, causing its best-selling plane to be grounded worldwide, and exposing the company to withering criticism over its handling of the crisis.

Paul Njoroge of Canada, who lost his family in the Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash, said the UIA crash "brought a chill in my entire body" as he recalled the MAX crash.

"The 737-800, the predecessor to the 737-MAX... has been seen to be reliable over the years," Njoroge said in a statement released by his law firm.

"However, any in-built technical issues cannot be tolerated. Could the crash be tied to the crippled culture within Boeing? That is a hypothesis that should be analyzed."

The latest tragic plane crash involving a Boeing model different from the grounded 
MAX adds to the travails facing the company after two deadly crashes (AFP Photo/
MANDEL NGAN)

Cause of crash unknown

However, aviation analysts stressed that the two planes are different models and the crashes should be considered separately.

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group, a research consultancy focused on aviation and defense, said the UIA crash is "tragic and the optics aren't good" for Boeing, but the 737-800 model has an excellent record.

The airline said the aircraft involved in the crash was built in 2016 and had been checked only two days before the accident. It was Kiev-based UIA's first fatal crash.

There was no immediate indication of foul play and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against "speculating" on the cause of the disaster.

A statement posted on the website of the Ukrainian embassy in Iran initially said the crash was caused by an engine malfunction and ruled out an act of terror, but it was later edited to say that all information will now be provided by an official commission.

Aboulafia said early statements blaming the crash on technical difficulties reflected "an unbelievable degree of unprofessionalism" since they did not have access to the plane's black box or pilot communications.

Scott Hamilton of Leeham News said reports linking the UIA crash to the MAX crisis "are irresponsible," adding that the 737-800 model is "a highly reliable aircraft with thousands in service around the world."

Hamilton said crash investigations routinely include studying the possibility of pilot error, maintenance error, technical error, outside factors such as weather and terrorism and foreign object ingestion.

Citing a 2018 Southwest Airlines incident in which an engine exploded, killing a passenger, Hamilton said the plane's engine "has a history of uncontained failures that must be considered."

Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline 
Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Investigation faces roadblocks

Hostilities between Washington and Tehran could impede the probe, which comes as President Donald Trump vowed additional sanctions on Iran following Iranian missile strikes on US troop bases in Iraq, which was in retaliation for Washington's killing of an Iranian general.

Under a protocol governing international aviation investigations, Iran should lead the review, but the country that manufactured the aircraft and the country of the airline that operated the plane also should have representatives involved in the probe.

Normally the US National Transportation Safety Board, the body charged with investigating air accidents, would be involved as Boeing is based in the United States, and likely would rely on experts from the manufacturer.

The NTSB is monitoring developments around the crash and "following its standard procedures for international aviation accident investigations, including long-standing restrictions under the country embargoes," an NTSB spokesman said.

"As part of its usual procedures, the NTSB is working with the State Department and other agencies to determine the best course of action."

Boeing called the crash a "tragic event" on Twitter and said, "we are ready to assist in any way needed."

A US official said, "the US would have to be invited by the Iranians to participate."

The head of Iran Civil Aviation Organisation, Ali Abedzadeh, said while the Ukrainians were free to participate in the probe into the crash, "we will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans," according to the Mehr news agency.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxis

Yahoo – AFP, January 7, 2020

A model of the S-A1 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is shown at
the Hyundai news event where Hyundai announced its partnership with Uber to create
an air taxi network, during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas
(AFP Photo/DAVID MCNEW)

Las Vegas (AFP) - Hyundai announced Monday it would mass produce flying cars for Uber's aerial rideshare network set to deploy in 2023.

The South Korean manufacturer said it would produce the four-passenger electric "vertical take-off and landing vehicles" at "automotive scale," without offering details.

The deal announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas could help Uber, which is working with other aircraft manufacturers, to achieve its goal of deploying air taxi service in a handful of cities by 2023.

Jaiwon Shin, head of Hyundai's urban air mobility division, said he expects the large-scale manufacturing to keep costs affordable for the aerial systems.

"We know how to mass produce high quality vehicles," Shin told a news conference at CES.

Eric Allison (L), Head of Uber Elevate, and Jaiwon Shin, Head of Urban Air Mobility 
at Hyundai, talk about their companies' partnership to create an air taxi network, 
during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (AFP Photo/
DAVID MCNEW)

He said he expected the partnership to allow for the short-range air taxis to be "affordable for everyone."

Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, appeared at the CES event with Hyundai to discuss the partnership.

"By taking transportation out of the two dimensional grid on the ground and moving it into the sky, we can offer significant time savings to our riders," Allison said.

He said that because of its other app-based transport options, "only Uber can seamlessly connect riders from cars, trains and even bikes to aircraft."

People take photos of a model of Hyundai's S-A1 electric vertical takeoff and 
landing (eVTOL) aircraft built in partnership with Uber to create an air taxi network,
during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (AFP Photo/
DAVID MCNEW)

Uber has announced it had selected Melbourne to join Dallas and Los Angeles in becoming the first cities to offer Uber Air flights, with the goal of beginning demonstrator flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023.

Hyundai is using CES to show the S-A1 model aircraft with a cruising speed up to 180 miles (290 km) per hour.

The aircraft utilizes "distributed electric propulsion," designed with multiple rotors that can keep it in the air if one of them fails.

The smaller rotors also help reduce noise, which the companies said is important to cities.

The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially but over time will become autonomous, the company said.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

US proposes remote ID requirement for drones

Yahoo – AFP, December 27, 2019

US regulators are seeking to require privately operated drones to have remote
identification, a kind of electronic license plate, to open up more commercial
opportunities and help law enforcement track illegal activities (AFP Photo/HO)

Washington (AFP) - US regulators on Thursday unveiled a proposal to require privately operated drones to use remote identification -- a kind of electronic license plate -- as part of efforts to ensure airspace safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposal for remote ID is now subject to a 60-day comment period before a final rule is adopted.

Officials said the new rule would help identify potential threats, and presumably enable security officials to act against them.

"Remote ID technologies will enhance safety and security by allowing the FAA, law enforcement, and federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction," said US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose agency includes the FAA.

According to the text of the rule, the requirement would enable officials to remotely identify any drone in real time and "assist federal security partners in threat discrimination -- allowing them to identify an operator and make an informed decision regarding the need to take actions to mitigate a perceived security or safety risk."

The text noted that the FAA wanted to be able to act against activities such as smuggling of illegal drugs or hazardous substances, unlawful invasion of privacy or illegal surveillance.

According to the agency, drones are a fast-growing segment of the transportation sector, with nearly 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots registered with the agency. The requirement covers all private drones weighing at least 250 grams (0.55 pounds).

The move comes amid efforts by both large tech firms such as Google parent Alphabet and Amazon as well as startups to use drones for delivery of food, medical supplies and other items.

DJI, the Chinese firm which is a large manufacturer of drones, welcomed the action, saying it could enable drones to be used for complex operations, but added that it would review the details.

"DJI has long advocated for a remote identification system that would provide safety, security and accountability for authorities," said DJI vice president Brendan Schulman.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Boeing ousts Muilenburg, names Chair David Calhoun as CEO

Yahoo – AFP, December 23, 2019

Boeing replaced Dennis Muilenburg as CEO amid the protracted 737 MAX
crisis (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

New York (AFP) - Boeing on Monday replaced its embattled chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, saying a change was necessary as it attempts to restore its reputation amid the protracted 737 MAX crisis.

Boeing named board Chairman David Calhoun as chief executive and president, saying the company needed to "restore confidence" and "repair relationships with regulators, customers and all other stakeholders."

The company pledged to "operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers."

The aerospace giant's financial picture remains clouded following the global grounding of the MAX in March after two deadly crashes.

The move comes a week after Boeing took the monumental step of temporarily shutting down MAX production because of the crisis, which has pushed the aircraft's return to the skies into 2020.

Muilenburg will exit the company immediately but Calhoun, a former General Electric aviation executive, will not take the CEO post until January 13, 2020, while he exits existing commitments, Boeing said in a news release.

During that period, Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO.

Muilenburg's response to the crisis has been increasingly criticized as the MAX grounding has dragged on far longer than initially expected as more disturbing details have dribbled out about the certification of the MAX.

He has also been seen as tone deaf and awkward towards families of the 346 people killed in the crashes.

After enduring two withering congressional hearings in the fall, Muilenburg's leadership came under further scrutiny this month when the Federal Aviation Administration called the company out for overly-optimistic timeframe for restoring the MAX that the agency said created the perception that Boeing was trying "to force FAA into taking quicker action."

Boeing shares jumped 3.4 percent to $339.13 in early trading on the news.

The company took another hit to its reputation over on Sunday when its Starliner spacecraft landed six days early after a failed mission to rendezvous with the International Space Station.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

US aviation chief says Boeing 737 MAX won't be recertified until 2020

Yahoo – AFP, John BIERS, December 11, 2019

People hold up pictures of the victims of Boeing 737 MAX accidents as Federal
Aviation Administration Administrator(FAA) Stephen Dickson(R) testifies before
the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Capitol Hill (AFP
Photo/JIM WATSON)

New York (AFP) - The top US air transport regulator on Wednesday doused Boeing's hopes that its 737 MAX will return to the skies this year while lawmakers probed why the agency did not ground the plane after the first of two crashes.

In an interview just ahead of a congressional hearing on the crashes, Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson told CNBC the aircraft will not be cleared to fly before 2020.

The process for approving the MAX's return to the skies still has 10 or 11 milestones left to complete, including a certification flight and a public comment period on pilot training requirements, he said.

"If you just do the math, it's going to extend into 2020," he said.

The MAX has been grounded since March following the second of two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing has been aiming to win regulatory approval this month, with flights projected to resume in January.

But Dickson said, "I've made it very clear Boeing's plan is not the FAA's plan."

"We're going to keep our heads down and support the team in getting this report done right."

A captured agency?

Many of the questions at the subsequent hearing in the House Transportation Committee focused on why the FAA did not move more aggressively after the first crash.

FAA administrator Stephen Dickson, shown here at a swearing-in in August, is 
expected to face tough questioning at a congressional hearing Wednesday 
(AFP Photo/WIN MCNAMEE)

Boeing and the FAA have been under intense scrutiny following the crashes for their response to issues with the aircraft, including the flight-handling system involved in both accidents, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Rather than grounding the plane after the October 2018 Lion Air crash, the FAA determined that it would require Boeing to revise the MCAS flight handling system in a process overseen by the FAA.

The agency also issued guidelines to flight crews worldwide on how the respond to a problem with MCAS, an automated system that pilots were unable to control during the Lion Air crash.

At Wednesday's hearing, Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat leading a congressional probe, cited an internal FAA risk analysis that, without fixes to MCAS, the MAX could suffer as many as 15 such catastrophic accidents over its decades of expected use.

That is a much higher rate than other planes and aviation experts consider it unacceptable.

Dickson, who did not join the agency until this summer following the two crashes, said he did not know who saw the internal analysis but that the agency's decisions after the Lion Air crash were "data driven."

"We really didn't know what the causes were" of the Lion Air crash, Dickson said, adding that issues with aircraft maintenance and pilot performance were also factors besides the MCAS.

"Obviously the result is not satisfactory," Dickson said when pressed if the agency had made a mistake.

After crashes that killed 346 people, Boeing has been aiming to get its 737 MAX 
certified to return to the skies this month, but the FAA says that cannot happen 
until 2020 (AFP Photo/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

"The decision did not achieve the result it was intended to achieve."

DeFazio said the FAA's response was "way less than not satisfactory... it was catastrophic."

DeFazio said it was not clear how widely the internal FAA risk analysis had been distributed in the agency and whether officials on a key air worthiness panel saw the document.

"We may have a captive regulatory problem in the field offices," DeFazio said, referring to FAA officials in Seattle who on key decisions deferred to Boeing during the MAX certification.

A Boeing spokesman said the company agreed with the FAA's response to the Lion Air crash.

"The actions that Boeing and the FAA took, including the issuance of the Operations Manual Bulletin and Airworthiness Directive and the timeline for implementing the MCAS enhancements, were fully consistent with the FAA's analysis and established process," the Boeing spokesman said.

Dickson said he was determined to improve the agency's operations to prevent future crashes.

He said the accidents showed problems with "fragmented and inadequate" communications at the agency that inhibited the agency's ability to comprehensively assess safety during certification.

The House Transportation Committee also will hear from Edward Pierson, a former senior manager at Boeing who told company brass he feared production problems put plane safety at risk.

Michael Collins, a former FAA safety engineer who has criticized the agency's move to delegate some decisions to Boeing, will also testify.

Shares of Boeing were down 0.6 percent in early afternoon trading at $345.75.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Shoveled: Garuda Boss Fired for Smuggling Harley Davidson Bike and Brompton Bicycles

Jakarta Globe, NUR YASMIN, December 5, 2019

The disassembled parts of a smuggled Harley Davidson Shovelhead are shown 
by customs officials in Jakarta on Thursday. (B1 TV Photo)

Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia's president director I Gusti Ngurah Ashkara is soon to be fired for allegedly smuggling a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton bicycles, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said on Thursday.

The items were smuggled inside Garuda's brand new Airbus A330-900 Neo being delivered from its factory in Toulouse, France, in mid-November.

There were 22 passengers on the plane and four of them were Garuda directors: the president director, better known as Ari Ashkara, technical and services director Iwan Joeniarto, cargo and business development director Mohammas Iqbal and human resources director Heri Akhyar.

"As the SOE Minister, I will dismiss the Garuda president director. We will not stop there; we will look for other people who might have been involved in this case as well," Erick told a press conference in Jakarta.

The used Harley Davidson motorcycle had been disassembled prior to delivery and smuggled as parts. Customs officials found them wrapped in 15 boxes inside the plane's cargo area.

The Brompton bikes and accessories were found in three other boxes.

Erick said an audit by the customs office showed the smuggled items belonged to the president director, despite the baggage claim tags carrying different names.

Ari had instructed his subordinates to find him a classic Harley Davidson Shovelhead from the 1970s.

The used motorcycle was purchased in April 2019 with the help of a Garuda finance manager in Amsterdam.

"It's really sad that this [personal] transaction had to drag down an SOE," Erick said.

The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhur Binsar Pandjaitan said during a visit to Tongxiang, China, on Thursday that he fully supported Erick's decision.

"[An act like] this will hurt our investment climate," he said.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati meanwhile said smuggling the Harley and the Bromptons had cost the country up to Rp 1.5 billion ($107,000) in unpaid taxes.

"The Harley bike is valued at Rp 800 million and the Brompton bicycles cost Rp 50-60 million each," Sri Mulyani said.

"Everyone should always obey existing regulations," she told reporters.