The Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Co, Dennis Muilenburg, has partially blamed the pilots flying the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max that crashed in March 2019. His statement contradicts the preliminary findings published in April.
Muilenburg said the pilot did not completely follow the manufacturer’s emergency procedures, defending the plane’s design and software system which he said met Boeing‘s safety criteria.
The blame game took a new turn during Muilenburg’s address to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Chicago on Monday.
The Ethiopian Airlines investigators had absolved the Pilots of wrongdoings before and during the emergency landing that caused the crash.
The Investigators recommended that Boeing should review its software MCAS. The report did not fault the American manufacturer because the global aviation guideline is to recommend rather than blame any party that might have caused a crash.
Recall that another possible cause of the crash was linked to Boeing’s hasty production/upgrading of the Max models.
But Muilenburg’s assertion disagrees with the report’s conclusion: In his statement to the shareholders, he said there was no “technical slip or gap” in building the planes. According to Muilenburg, all systems designed by Boeing are developed with the understanding that “these airplanes are flown in the hands of pilots.”
Muilenburg backtracked from previous statement: His latest comment on the crash is somewhat a retraction of his previous statement when the Ethiopian Airlines crashed. Muilenburg had previously apologised for the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines’ crash, acknowledging a sensor had malfunctioned during both incidents.
Counter-accusation for survival: Muilenburg’s recent statement can be viewed as a defense strategy or fightback after the preliminary report turned the spotlight on Boeing and its 737 Max design, which was the best selling aircraft for Boeing before the crashes.
Before the preliminary result was made public, Aviation industries in over 50 countries, including Nigeria, banned/restricted Boeing 737 Max model planes from their airspace. This caused the order for 737 Max to drop to its lowest, with no order recorded in the first quarter of 2019.
Boeing also suspended the company’s forecast after first-quarter earnings fell behind analysts’ projections. Boeing had been tipped to hit $3.25 but the company’s core earnings settled for $3.16 a share.
Companies that have chosen to stick with Boeing’s Max aircraft are expecting Boeing to bounce back from the crash, with one Airline operator disclosing a possible return in the second half of 2019. If Boeing is to maintain the trust, absolving its aircraft and software system from the cause of the crash seems to be the best path to take, hence the backtrack from Muilenburg.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump recently offered branding advice to Boeing on how to recover from the current crisis.
Boeing didn’t inform Pilots of MCAS system, and according to Muilenburg, there was no reason to. He explained that the software is embedded within the plane, so there isn’t any reason to separately inform them about the MCAS system.
Boeing had been faulted on its training of Pilots on the MCAS system, but Muilenburg said training them wasn’t necessary since they were trained on how to fly the 737 Max aircraft.
“when you train on the airplane, you are being trained on MCAS.”
“It’s not a separate system to be trained on.” Muilenburg said
Meanwhile, Muilenburg survived shareholders vote to oust him as joint chairman and CEO of Boeing. Shareholders voted to keep Muilenburg after rejecting a resolution to strip him of chairmanship, which will see an independent chair takeover.
Central banks digital currencies pose a threat against the U.S dollar
In general, digital currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows.
A new report by America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, said the U.S dollar is being faced with a major threat as many central banks’ digital currencies continue to gain traction.
Analysts, including Josh Younger, the head of U.S. interest-rate derivatives strategy and Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist, wrote in a report saying this:
“There is no country with more to lose from the disruptive potential of digital currency than the United States.
“This revolves primarily around U.S. dollar hegemony. Issuing the global reserve currency and the medium of exchange for international trade in commodities, goods, and services convey immense advantages.”
Aditi Kumar and Eric Rosenbach also recently penned an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs in which they noted that “Just recently, America’s arch-rival China became the first major economy to carry a real test of a national digital currency.”
In general, electronic currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows. A digital Chinese currency (yuan) combined with China’s developed electronic payment systems may give China more future influence than it ever bargained for.
What Nigerians should know about Digital currencies
A digital currency is a cash balance recorded electronically on a store value card or other physical devices, which could someday replace the physical notes of the naira, for instance.
Digital currencies can be decentralized, that is where the control over the cash supply can come from diverse sources. Digital currencies can also be centralized, where there is a midway point of control over cash supply, just like the way central banks work.
Although JP Morgan does not see the U.S dollar being overthrown as the world’s reserve currency anytime soon, experts warned that the U.S dollar dominance could weaken. This is because its processing trade settlement and the SWIFT system could make it more vulnerable.
The American bank continued by saying:
“Offering a cross-border payment solution built on top of a digital dollar would, particularly if designed to be minimally disruptive to the structure of the domestic financial system, be a very modest investment to protect a key means to project power in the global economy,
“For high-income countries and the U.S. in particular, digital currency is an exercise in geopolitical risk management.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said months ago that the Federal Reserve was taking a critical view on the issues regarding a digital currency.
Dollar gains against major currencies
U.S dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China over Beijing’s plans to begin
The U.S dollar was up on Monday morning during London’s trading session after protests in Hong Kong yesterday escalated U.S-China tensions.
US dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China heightened.
The American Dollar Index that monitors the U.S dollar against a basket of other major currencies was slightly up 0.02% to 99.945 by 11.10 am Nigerian local time.
What it means: Nigerians hoping to meet a foreign exchange payment obligation, transactions via the dollar to countries like Europe, Japan, would have the need to pay fewer dollars to fulfill such transactions.
Meanwhile, the friendship between the Americans and Chinese has soured lately since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. US President Trump and President Jinping of China have traded words against each other issues surrounding COVID-19, including accusations of lack of transparency and cover-ups.
Consequently, the U.S. Commerce Department added 33 Chinese businesses to a blacklist on Friday, and some U.S. Senators proposed sanctions on those businesses.
“The biggest concern is the tension between the United States and China, things were already bad, and it is likely to get worse because of the Hong Kong security law. This supports risk-off trades, which is positive for the dollar and the yen,” Tekuya Kanda, the general manager of research at Gaitame.com Research Institute, told Reuters.
Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala
A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.
The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.
The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.
It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”
The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.
PUBLIC NOTICE (23-05-2020) pic.twitter.com/bn0xNxnRmO
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) May 23, 2020
However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.
For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.
He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.
Pls refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI – NO SHOW by AirPeace and it’s been 1 week now —- there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 Amount 568100 NGN. Am sure a good world class carrier like AIRPEACE won’t delay refunds purposely. Pls act fast
— Jayant Khamesra (@JKhamesra) May 23, 2020