Dubai slams Boeing over its handling of 737 Max grounding

Boeing (Supplied)
Boeing (Supplied)

Boeing was lambasted by the most powerful figure in Dubai aviation for failing to keep airlines updated on the grounding of the 737 Max jetliner, of which 14 have been delivered to the Persian Gulf emirate.

“Communication with Boeing could be better,” Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Monday in a briefing at the 2019 Arabian Travel Market convention.

“We want to know exactly what’s happening, the details. There are still areas that aren’t being answered 100% yet.”

Sheikh Ahmed, who is president of Dubai’s civil aviation authority and chairman of Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, said he’ll be seeking compensation from Boeing for the idling of the planes at sister short-haul operator FlyDubai, which has ordered 175 in total, and could approach Airbus SE about switching to the European company’s competing A320neo model.

It’s especially galling to be out of the loop since FlyDubai is one of the biggest customers for the Max, said Sheikh Ahmed, who is also a board member of the United Arab Emirates aviation authority, one of nine such bodies that are looking into the safety of the plane, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration. The panel was due to meet for the first time today.

Boeing needs to be clearer about when the Max will fly again after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia led to the grounding, according to Sheikh Ahmed, who said he’s concerned about further delays for European Aviation Safety Authority approval of changes to a suspect anti-stall system, and for pilot re-training.

“I have to really see what assurance I will be getting,” he said. “I didn’t ground the 14 aircraft because I wanted to do it. Even if I wanted to fly this aircraft I won’t be able to.”

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