This week in aviation, the FAA responded in an unusual way following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which might make things difficult for Southwest. Meanwhile, Lufthansa hit a new milestone in digital booking patterns.
Airline News Weekly Roundup
Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
The Ethiopian Boeing 737 Max Crash Leads to One of the Strangest Weeks Ever in Aviation The worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet “out of an abundance of caution” is a break with the FAA’s traditional data-driven approach to accident investigations. Could this mean an end to the way safety decisions have been made?
Southwest May Bear Biggest Brunt After FAA Grounding of Boeing Max Jets: U.S. airlines downplayed the significance of the FAA’s decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max, mostly saying they have enough slack in their fleets to take care of most customers. American and United probably will be OK, but it’s hard to believe this will be business as usual for Southwest. It has more Max aircraft than the others.
Lufthansa Now Drives More Than Half Its Bookings Directly: Some airlines will be jealous of Lufthansa Group’s ability to have one out of every two of its customers book directly through its brand sites or travel management channels without having to pay fees to third-party tech middlemen.
Sun Country CEO Aims to Diversify C-Suite in Rebuilding Period: Legacy carriers have a responsibility to lead the way on diversity and inclusion for women, but it might be the smaller, more nimble airlines that make faster progress.
Airlines Tap New Tech to Sell Each Other’s Fares: Investor 777 Partners has bought tech company Air Black Box, while online agency Kiwi has taken a stake in reservation system AeroCRS. These deals hint at a growing interest among airlines to use tech to build marketing alliances that differ from traditional codeshares. The true winner may be smaller airports, which stand to gain traffic.
Did AirAsia’s Rivals Arm-Twist Online Travel Agencies to Stop Selling Its Low Airfares? Any form of industry players conspiring to protect their self-interests should be thoroughly investigated. Hopefully this unsettling episode in Indonesia will end soon and everyone can go back to booking the best deal they can get without lame invisible hands interfering with the process.
FAA Grounds Boeing 737 Max Jets in Reversal of Earlier Stance: The Federal Aviation Administration finally bowed to pressure. The United States followed the world and grounded all Boeing Max jets, including the larger models flown by United Airlines.
Lufthansa Looks at Taking Over Thomas Cook-Owned Airline Condor: Lufthansa sees Condor as a good fit for its existing business. The question is would Thomas Cook split up its airline, and would competition regulators allow it?
Singapore’s Changi Is Changing the Idea of What an Airport Can Be: An airport is hardly the place people want to come to and spend hours, but Changi Airport Singapore looks set to change all that when its Jewel project opens next month.
UK Closes Airspace to Boeing’s Latest Jet: This is another serious blow for Boeing. We’ll have to wait until investigators have analyzed the flight data recorders before we can get a full picture of what happened to Flight 302.
Airlines Ground Boeing Jet Involved in Ethiopian Crash: Boeing needs to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.
U.S. Airlines Hold Off Grounding Boeing’s Latest Jet Despite New Calls for Caution: U.S. airlines have so far decided not to ground their Boeing 737 Max jets. Will they continue to hold off? Or will they err on the side of caution?
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Photo credit: Southwest Airlines cold weather operations in Salt Lake City, Utah. Stephen M. Keller / Southwest Airlines