Boeing Co will provide airlines that have bought the 737 MAX with free software upgrades, the US manufacturer said on Monday, as Ethiopian Airlines told Reuters it expected a preliminary crash report this week or next.
Any fixes to the MAX software, the focus of investigations in two deadly crashes that have prompted worldwide groundings of the aircraft, must still get approval from governments around the world.
The US Transportation Department said Monday it is forming an outside panel to review the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification program amid growing concerns after two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes since October.
The causes of separate Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes are also still unknown, though Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam said he trusts Boeing.
“Despite the tragedy, Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines will continue to be linked well into the future,” Tewolde said on Monday. “Ethiopian Airlines believes in Boeing. They have been a partner of ours for many years.”
Meanwhile, Boeing has begun briefing airlines on software and training updates for the MAX, with more than 200 global airline pilots, technical experts and regulators due in Renton, Washington where the plane is built this week.
The sessions follow a briefing with carriers including three US airlines on Saturday, part of Boeing’s effort “to communicate with all current, and many future, MAX customers and operators,” a Boeing spokeswoman said.
Tewolde told Reuters the leading African airline may or may not attend the briefing.
Lion Air Managing Director Daniel Putut said his airline would send two people on Wednesday, a pilot and an engineer.
The crash of an Indonesian Lion Air flight last October killed 189 people and first brought the safety of the 737 MAX into focus.
The 737 MAX is Boeing’s best-selling plane, with orders worth more than $500 billion at list prices.
Boeing’s shares closed 2.3 percent higher at $370.46 on hopes that a fix is nearing completion, but have lost about 12 percent and $29 billion in market value since the March 10 crash.
In another blow to Boeing, France announced on Monday that Airbus had agreed to sell 300 aircraft to China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, including 290 A320 planes and 10 A350, in a deal worth about is 30 billion euros ($34 billion).
Boeing’s software fix for the grounded 737 MAX will prevent repeated operation of an anti-stall system at the center of safety concerns, and deactivate it altogether if two sensors disagree widely, two people familiar with pilot briefings said.
The system ignited a debate over the proper balance between man and machine in piloting the latest version of the 50-year-old 737.
Upgrading an individual 737 MAX with Boeing’s new software only takes about an hour per plane, though the overall process could stretch on far longer as it is rolled out across the global fleet due to stringent testing and documentation requirements by engineers and regulators, according to a senior FAA official with knowledge of the process.
“Clearly there is pressure to get the airplanes ungrounded but there is tremendous pressure to make sure it was done right,” the FAA official said. “The last thing in the world you want is to have the thing hurried and then find problems with it.”
Ethiopian and French investigators have pointed to “clear similarities” between the two crashes, putting pressure on Boeing and U.S. regulators to come up with an adequate fix.
No direct link has been proven between the crashes but attention has focused on whether pilots had the correct information about the “angle of attack” at which the wing slices through the air.
Qatar Airways, one of the largest Middle East carriers, threw its support behind Boeing on Monday.
The airline will however delay the April delivery of another MAX jet until the cause of the crash is known, said Qatar Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker.
“I am sure that the aircraft will get back into the skies soon and that Boeing will get to the bottom of what happened and if there is something technical wrong that they will find a fix for it,” he said.
Garuda Indonesia was invited to the briefing but requested a webinar instead, only to be rebuffed, Chief Executive Ari Askhara told Reuters on Monday. Last week, Indonesia’s national carrier said it planned to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX jets, citing a loss of passenger trust.
Garuda, which has only one 737 MAX, had been reconsidering its order before the Ethiopian crash.
Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, another MAX operator, suspended on Monday two routes between the United States and Brazil that it said it can only service with the longer-range MAX 8, but is not currently revising its MAX orders.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.