Airlines, Airports and Airliners 24 January 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Airlines, Airports and Airliners

Updates on grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.
FAA increasing oversight of Boeing production and manufacturing.
Boeing names independent advisor to lead comprehensive quality review.
Airlink to re-start Durban - Bloemfontein flights.
Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services adds Casablanca as Its 35th freighter destination in Africa.
Kenya Airways ranked among top on-time best performing airlines globally.
TAAG - new baggage policy effective January 2024.
Akasa Air orders 150 more Boeing 737 MAX jets for domestic and international expansion.
Worldwide Incidents and accidents.
Bonus video - Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable


As an added layer of safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is recommending that operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft visually inspect mid-exit door plugs to ensure the door is properly secured. The Boeing 737-900ER is not part of the newer MAX fleet but has the same door plug design.

In accordance with their Safety Management Systems, operators conducted additional inspections on the Boeing 737-900ER following the loss of a mid-cabin door plug on a Boeing 737-9 MAX airplane on January 5th.

January 17, 2024

After taking decisive action to ground 171 Boeing 737-9 MAX airplanes, the FAA is now investigating Boeing's manufacturing practices and production lines, including those involving subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems, bolstering its oversight of Boeing, and examining potential system change.

On Friday, the FAA announced requirements for a rigorous inspection and maintenance process as a new and necessary step before the FAA contemplates any further steps in the process to return Boeing 737-9 MAXs to service. The first 40 inspections that are part of that process are now complete, and the FAA will thoroughly review the data from them. All 737-9 MAX aircraft with door plugs will remain grounded pending the FAA's review and final approval of an inspection and maintenance process that satisfies all FAA safety requirements. Once the FAA approves an inspection and maintenance process, it will be required on every grounded 737-9 MAX prior to future operation. The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning these aircraft to service.

The FAA is supporting the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. The NTSB is in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates.


After taking decisive and immediate action to ground approximately 171 Boeing 737-9 MAX planes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced new and significant actions to immediately increase its oversight of Boeing production and manufacturing.

These actions come one day after the FAA formally notified Boeing that the FAA has launched an investigation into the company as a result of last Friday's incident on a Boeing Model 737-9 MAX in which the aircraft lost a passenger door plug while in flight.

The actions announced today include the FAA conducting:

An audit involving the Boeing 737-9 MAX production line and its suppliers to evaluate Boeing's compliance with its approved quality procedures. The results of the FAA's audit analysis will determine whether additional audits are necessary.

Increased monitoring of Boeing 737-9 MAX in-service events. Assessment of safety risks around delegated authority and quality oversight, and examination of options to move these functions under independent, third-party entities.

"It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks," FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said. "The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk. The FAA is exploring the use of an independent third party to oversee Boeing's inspections and its quality system."

Yesterday, the FAA announced an investigation to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations. The letter to Boeing is available here.

The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 MAX to service.


Boeing [NYSE: BA] today named Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy (Ret.) as special advisor to Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. The appointment is effective immediately.

Admiral Donald and a team of outside experts will conduct a thorough assessment of Boeing's quality management system for commercial airplanes, including quality programs and practices in Boeing manufacturing facilities and its oversight of commercial supplier quality. His recommendations will be provided to Calhoun and to the Aerospace Safety Committee of Boeing's Board of Directors.

"Admiral Donald is a recognized leader in ensuring the integrity of some of the most complex and consequential safety and quality systems in the world," said Calhoun. "I've asked him to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment with actionable recommendations for strengthening our oversight of quality in our own factories and throughout our extended commercial airplane production system. He and his team will have any and all support he needs from me and from across The Boeing Company."

Admiral Donald served as a nuclear trained submarine officer for 37 years. In his last Navy assignment, he served as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for eight years, ensuring the safe and effective operation of all nuclear-powered warships and supporting infrastructure. The program is recognized worldwide for excellence in reactor safety and reliability. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. He also chairs the board of the nonprofit Battelle. His public board service also includes Entergy Corporation, where he is Chairman of the Nuclear Committee. Admiral Donald graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering.


Airlink, Southern Africa's premier airline, will reinstate direct flights between Durban and Bloemforntein from 26 February 2024

The service is part of Airlink's strategy to expand its network of flights from Durban as a third hub with Bloemfontein joining Johannesburg, Gqeberha, Mbombela (Nelspruit) and Harare as directly-served destinations.

Airlink's morning flights on the route will operate Monday to Friday and its late afternoon flights every day except Saturdays. Tickets for flights on the route are available.

"Airlink's direct service between the two cities is in response to increased calls for convenient and efficient connections that boost productivity for travellers on the route, especially from the business and legal communities' sectors. This latest expansion of our comprehensive route network will promote economic activity between the two metropoles and their market catchment areas," said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

Flights on the route will be operated by modern and reliable Embraer Regional Jets. Airlink's great value fares include a 20kg free economy class checked-in luggage allowance plus a 15kg sporting equipment allowance. Onboard, customers are treated to a complimentary snack and refreshments. Our comfortable cabins provide travellers with generous leg room and a choice of aisle or window seat - Airlink aircraft do not have middle seats.

Airlink flights are scheduled to provide convenient connections with our other domestic and regional services as well as with long-haul flights provided by our constellation of global airline partners.

Flights on the route will operate at these times w.e.f. 26 February 2024.


Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, the largest air cargo network operator in Africa, commences a freighter service to Casablanca, Morocco as of today, January 09, 2024, marking 35 in its number of freighter destinations served in Africa.

Regarding the launch of the freighter service, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew said, "We are excited to announce the launch of the freighter services to Casablanca, Morocco. The new service opens a new chapter as it is our maiden venture into the Maghreb region as part of our global freighter network. This addition increases our total African freighter destinations to 35 and boosts our commitment to delivering reliable and efficient services. As the largest cargo network operator in Africa and a key air cargo service provider globally, Ethiopian Airlines will continue expanding its services around the world by opening new routes to facilitate global trade and the flow of goods. Our freighter service to Casablanca is operated using the modern Boeing 777-200F cargo aircraft with payload capacity of more than 100 tons."

Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, one of the major strategic business units within the Ethiopian Airlines Group, currently covers more than 135 international destinations around the world with both belly-hold capacity and 68 dedicated freighter services, deploying more than 145 airplanes, including 17 dedicated freighter aircraft, showcasing its operations connecting five continents, and highlighting its role as a business and investment enabler. It runs a modern warehouse facility that has 1.15 million tons of storage capacity and just completed the construction of an ultramodern e-commerce warehouse with a capacity of 150,000 tons, which is dedicated to mail, couriers, and e-commerce goods. These fully automated state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with advanced transfer vehicles, sorting machines, and the latest technology system to provide a temperature-controlled environment for dry, perishable, and pharmaceutical shipments.

Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services is a multi-award-winning air cargo service provider; in its one of the most decorated years of 2023, Ethiopian Cargo won: - Best Cargo Airline-Africa for five years in row and Cargo Airline of the Year for two years in row at the Air Cargo News Awards 2023, Sustainable Cargo Airline of the Year-Africa Award at the Freight Week Sustainability Awards 2023, African Cargo Airline of the Year and Air Cargo Brand of the Year in Africa from STAT Trade Times Cargo Excellence Awards 2023, and Best Cargo Airline-Africa award at the Arabian Cargo Awards 2023.


Kenya Airways has been ranked as Africa's second most efficient airline in a global on-time performance review of airlines and airports. The latest On-Time Performance Review report by aviation analytics company Cirium reveals that the airline attained an impressive 71.86% on-time arrival rate out of 41,905 completed flights in 2023.

An on-time flight is defined as a flight that arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled gate arrival. For an airport, it is defined as departing within 15 minutes of its scheduled departure.

"The high rankings result from Kenya Airways' persistent focus and delivery of on-time performance each month of the year, which has been a cornerstone of improving our guest experience strategy. This is a testament to our commitment to improving our on-time performance and our dedication to implementing real improvements on board," says Allan Kilavuka, CEO Kenya Airways.

Kenya Airways was overall ranked 10th in the Middle East & Africa region.

According to Cirium CEO, Jeremy Bowen, the data is collected from over 600 sources, allowing the industry stakeholders a third-party perspective on their operational performance. "The program aims to provide the airline industry and its stakeholders with a neutral, third-party perspective on operational performance for individual airlines."

Cirium's On-Time Performance program monitors global airline operational performance using information from an extensive array of sources, including airlines, airports, and civil aviation authorities, and offers a neutral, third-party perspective. The program studies over 30 million flights a year.


TAAG Angola Airlines will have a new baggage policy effective January 1, 2024. Passengers and customers are invited to familiarize themselves with the new conditions.

Overall, the new baggage policy provides greater convenience and options for passengers. We would like to highlight that passengers can now purchase additional baggage with no limit on the number of items. They will also benefit from lower taxes if the additional baggage is purchased before the date of travel. The approved formats/dimensions for personal items, carry-on, and checked baggage have been revised to provide more flexibility and options for travellers.

More items are now allowed in the bag, including musical instruments, sports equipment, pets, and perishable goods, as long as they comply with the company's baggage policy, which includes restrictions on size, weight, and packaging, as well as legal requirements in the destination country.

TAAG is aiming to become a customer-focused company of the highest possible standards deeply committed to providing more agile and flexible services to its passengers.


Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Akasa Air announced today the Indian carrier has placed a follow-on 737 MAX order, confirming 150 more fuel-efficient jets in its order book. The purchase of 737-10 airplanes and additional 737-8-200 jets by India's all-737 operator was revealed at the Wings India 2024 airshow.

Akasa Air will leverage the 737 MAX family to expand its domestic and international network in the coming years. Since launching operations in 2022, the airline has captured approximately 4% of India's domestic market, serving 18 destinations with a fleet of 22 737 MAX jets.

"We are excited to announce this historic order for 150 new Boeing airplanes, increasing our total orders from Boeing to 226 jets. In addition to supporting our rapid domestic expansion, the efficiency and economics of these new airplanes position Akasa to launch international routes in the coming months," said Vinay Dube, Akasa Air founder and CEO. "The lower carbon emissions of the 737 MAX family allow us to remain focused on sustainable operations, while also providing our environmentally conscious passengers with a more comfortable way to fly. Sustainability is at the core of our business, and we strive for more opportunities to reduce our impact to the environment."

Both 737 MAX variants will provide Akasa Air with added capacity and range on new and existing routes, while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by 20% compared to older-generation airplanes.

"This milestone demonstrates the strength of our partnership with Akasa Air and is a testament to the capabilities of the 737 MAX family to further the airline's operational priorities," said Stephanie Pope, Boeing Chief Operating Officer. "The efficiency and versatility of the 737-10 and 737-8-200 will support Akasa Air's expansion to meet soaring demand for air travel in the region for many years to come."

As Akasa Air looks to expand its network in India and South Asia, Boeing's 2023 Commercial Market outlook forecasts delivery of 2,705 new commercial airplanes over the next 20 years for the region, of which nearly 90% will be single-aisle jets.

Kitplanes for Africa

Mozambique, Pemba Airport (POL/FQPB): Airlink flight 4Z204, an Embraer ERJ-135LR, suffered a runway excursion after landing at Pemba.

Somalia, Ceelbarde Airstrip: A Fokker 50 impacted a house near Ceelbarde Airstrip, Somalia, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. The aircraft was transporting humanitarian aid on behalf to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

Germany, Frankfurt Airport (FRA/EDDF): A Lufthansa Airbus A321-231, landed from Düsseldorf Airport parked at V178, was hit by a catering truck at Frankfurt International Airport (FRA/EDDF). The aircraft received minor damage, but was taken out of service.

Japan, near Tokyo International Airport/Haneda (HND/RJTT): Japan Boeing 737-800 suffered a lightning strike during the initial climb from runway 34R which caused unreported damage to the airplane. The flight stopped climbing at 5000 feet and circled back to the same runway where a safe landing was carried out c. 24 minutes later for repair. No injuries reported among the crew and 116 passengers. The flight was discontinued.

Sweden, Göteborg-Landvetter Airport (GOT): A KLM Boeing 737-8K2, suffered a taxiway excursion at Göteborg-Landvetter Airport (GOT) and came to a stop with the nose landing gear in the grass. The aircraft was taxing to runway 21 for departure when the incident happened. ADS-B data suggest that the aircraft took taxiway Y and continued straight ahead instead of turning left to the runway 21 threshold. Weather data show it was snowing around the time of the incident.

USA, Location: Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA): An Atlas Air Boeing 747-87UF, suffered an engine no.2 fire (GEnx-2B67) during initial climb after take-off from runway 09 at Miami International Airport, FL (MIA). The flight radioed Miami Departure and declared an emergency, stating they had an engine fire. The aircraft returned to land back at MIA, 14 minutes after take-off. Post flight inspection revealed a softball size hole above the no.2 engine.

Bonus Video -

Boeing B17 Flight - Unforgettable

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